Southampton Joiners Arms

Heroic poses, explosive attitude and good hair....

Heroic poses, explosive attitude and good hair. It’s not everything, but sometimes it’s half the battle.

Halfway through opener ‘Modern Animal’, [a]Crashland[/a]’s towering bassist Martin Maddaford is lying on his back on the floor. His legs protrude at awkward angles, eyes vacantly searching the ceiling yet with fingers still flying, attacking his instrument with renewed anger. To his right, floppy-haired singer Alex Troup violently jerks his body about as if powered by a dangerous electrical force, legs kicking and arms flailing. At a time when new bands are just as likely to perch politely on a stool as kick up anything resembling a fuss, you can’t help but admire [a]Crashland[/a]’s sheer exuberance.

Even more brilliantly, they already act like rock stars, like a band straining to break from the toilet circuit and wage their own private war on the world. Judging from tonight, it can only be a matter of time before they get what they want.

Their secret weapon is their patience. Formed over two years ago in Bristol, they were quickly snapped up by Travis‘ label Independiente and then… nothing. Wisely, [a]Crashland[/a] went off to practise and tour and practise a little bit more, and the results are a band absolutely sure about who they are and what they’re doing.

So they’re polished, but fraught with enthusiasm. They sound like a punked-up Supergrass at the end of their tethers. In their hyperactive big label debut, ‘Standard Love Affair’, in fact, Alex snaps and snarls like Gaz Coombes around the time he was getting caught by the fuzz. Add a shot of Buzzcocks to the excitable mix and [a]Crashland[/a] virtually explode with spiky, infectious riffs and crackling choruses.

World domination tends to be a messy, sweaty business. But tonight [a]Crashland[/a] proved they’re more than willing to accept the challenge.