London King’s Cross Water Rats

[B]Ramsey[/B] could well bring [B]Joe Absolom[/B] his seemingly greatest wish - the anonymity of just being one of the lads.

Like a fugitive on the run, he’s hiding. Tucked away in the corner, head bent over guitar, nodding intently, in some eyes he’s guilty no matter what he does. So, while “You killed her” might normally be an insane thing for a punter to shout at an indie gig, when your band features Joe Absolom – erstwhile market boy Maffew from [I]EastEnders[/I] – it all makes perfect sense.

Because no matter how many times they deny it, he’s the major reason for any interest Ramsey are accruing. Fair play, they’re not exactly cashing in on the presence of the Walford One – releasing their own records via gigs and the Internet, and writing songs only the most obsessed of fans could clutch to their bosom.

Instead, having changed their name from Hung Up to signal the end of their cover-playing days, what they really want is proper cred and a live review that doesn’t start with a brief summary of the Square‘s current plotlines. Erm, sorry. As pretty skilful musicians they might just get it though, if only they could get over their worship of Weller. Because even the kindest of observers can’t help but notice most of their set is just a feather cut away from being ‘Stanley Road’ live.

Unfettered passion, sturdy riffs and gravelly vocals are Ramsey‘s basic trade. Sometimes – ‘Turn It Round’, ‘Believe It’ – these combine to make them impressively brusque, racing along spiritedly like the Stereophonics at their most rambunctious, but in their steadfast refusal to acknowledge any musical innovation post-1972, they mostly fail to escape the long shadow of their hero.

Competent, able, and principled enough to loathe cashing in on their greatest asset, Ramsey could well bring Joe Absolom his seemingly greatest wish – the anonymity of just being one of the lads. But you can’t see this making him a star all over again.