London Notting Hill Arts Club

So, really not the next [a]Oasis[/a], then. Put perhaps that's the point.

Like a mess of chicken entrails to the uninitiated, Alan McGee‘s new label, Poptones, is a riddle. In a former life, he signed the Mary Chain,[a]My Bloody Valentine[/a] and Oasis and turned Creation into arguably the most important independent label ever. Poptones, however, is a very different affair.

Named after the French balloonists who launched a silk and paper craft in 1783, The Montgolfier Brothers are as bizarre a McGee signing as you could imagine. This understated union of Mark Tanner (aka Gnac) and Roger Quigley (aka Quigley) has drifted in the indie backwater for some years now, releasing an album, ‘Seventeen Stars’, on the now-defunct Vespertine label last year. “No expense spent,” read the wry sleevenote.

Tonight they are three: all on guitars, plus a backing tape from which harpsichords and skeletal rhythms surreptitiously burble. And from the first pastoral notes of ‘Four Days’, in which guitars lazily chase a crystalline melody, it’s easy to see what’s enamoured a mellowed McGee. The Montgolfiers‘ songs ache with a peculiarly English lemon barley melancholy. And then they turn. Songs like ‘Between Two Points’ or ‘In Walks A Ghost’ quiver with small-town psychosis and weary spite – not screamed, but whispered.

So, really not the next Oasis, then. Put perhaps that’s the point.