This wilfully eclectic south London collective have never been in fashion and that their two LPs to date have sold next to nothing and that really, right now, [a]ROC[/a] are starting from scratch..

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London Highbury Upstairs At The Garage

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London Highbury Upstairs At The Garage

She’s singing, but you can barely hear her. [a]ROC[/a]’s Karen Sheridan is fighting a quiet sound system and a spectacularly talkative audience, and the trouble is, she’s armed only with newly-penned love songs and hopeful smiles. It’s great to have [a]ROC[/a] back, and playing a rare live show too, but it would be nice to actually hear what they’ve been doing for the past two years.

We know they were unceremoniously dropped by Virgin at the start of this year and that current single ‘Soviva’ is released on their own label. And we also know that this wilfully eclectic south London collective have never been in fashion and that their two LPs to date have sold next to nothing and that really, right now, [a]ROC[/a] are starting from scratch.

If it is a new beginning, then tonight the older songs are strongest, mainly because fragile efforts like ‘Sally Ann’ and ‘River’ are drowned out by chatter, Patrick Nicholson‘s intrepid studio skills lost in the hum. In fact, for a group so evidently indebted to the intricacies of the recording process, it’s a wise move to invigorate ‘Clouds’ with a house kick, and to make a frenzied racket during ‘Dada’. This time, it seems, [a]ROC[/a] know what they’re doing. They just need to do it more often.