In pursuit of the grand gesture, being a little obtuse is definitely handy....

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London Kentish Town Bull & Gate

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London Kentish Town Bull & Gate

In pursuit of the grand gesture, being a little obtuse is definitely handy. And they don’t come much more obtuse than Nottingham’s Manatee.

Sounding somewhere between [a]Mansun[/a] on a really bad hair day and a lost ’70s Krautrock act, songs like ‘Easy’ and ‘Porn Star’ occasionally stray a little too far into prog-tinged spaciness, but have enough ragged guitar smarts to get away with it. All of which leaves you to contemplate why singer Huw insists on sporting a Peter Mandelson moustache.

Oxford’s Samurai Seven, on the other hand, follow a path they’ve been walking for ages. While their blind worship at the temple of the power chord was bearable during the heady days of Britpop, now it just makes them seem like the bastard offspring of Silver Sun. And, having seen that band’s early promise disintegrate into misogynistic posturing, we [I]really [/I]don’t need the obvious adrenaline riffing of ‘Xeroxy Music’ or the blunderbuss seduction AOR ballad ‘I Am Yours’.

“This is a sexy love song,” singer Simon announces as he introduces another piece of would-be sky-scraping cheese. For his sake, let’s just hope he’s being ironic, because in their stubborn refusal to advance, Samurai Seven are turning on no-one but themselves.