London Camden Monarch

[B]Rico[/B] could easily come up with a nasty shade of terror all his own.

Stomping about the stage in his hooped jersey, scowling and wailing into the mic, he resembles a goth-rock Dennis The Menace in the midst of a particularly narky tantrum. But it would be unwise to laugh off Scots gloomster Rico this early in the game. Sure, his grand vision of misery might be thumping its head against the low ceiling of his means right now, but the brutish swings of his stripped-bare electro-rock certainly connects several times tonight.

Flanked by yowling sidemen and backed by live drums and looped breakbeats which seethe an effective, if unsubtle urban decay, Rico‘s none-more-black dramarama is played out with sheets of unpretty noise and skittering pulses, until the pay-off terrace-on-fire chorus comes in.

[a]Nine Inch Nails[/a]-esque, for sure, but Rico seems more drawn to explosions of anger than tedious periods of sorrow and self-examination. Check the churning grind of ‘Shave Your Head’, tapping into the nebulous wisdoms of hate-yer-parents teenhood as Rico lashes at the air and howls, [I]”Hate the ’60s!” [/I]like every kid whose now seems forever overshadowed by the past.

Sometimes you sense a pointlessness to the whole thing, and certainly tonight occasionally swerves into wanky squealing. But elsewhere, you get the impression that, given the time and the cash, Rico could easily come up with a nasty shade of terror all his own. Here’s hoping.