London E14 Trinity Buoy Wharf Boiler Room

Blame [B]The Beta Band[/B]...

Blame The Beta Band. They make this whole sprawling electrovacoustic psychedelia business look easy. That they do so with tunes and charisma too is a clear indication of how much [a]Simian[/a], the latest in a recent rash of bands severely indebted to the Betas, might like to improve if they seek approval through their own merit.

Harsh? Perhaps, given this is the band’s first official gig since signing to Source UK, with friends and industry bussed into this creative arts space in the shadow of the Millennium Dome where [a]Simian[/a] have spent the last month rehearsing. And if the material played tonight had been only half as mesmerising as the ambitious groovevheavy multivlayered pop found on the London-based quartet’s imminent ‘Watch It Glow’ mini-album, we’d surely have travelled home with heads spinning.

Instead, [a]Simian[/a] struggle with a suite of songs tailorvmade to be tinkered with in the luxury of the studio. The sly analogue squiggles and percolated glitches that lend a discreet charm to the smoulderingly epic ‘Drop And Roll’ and ‘The Wisp’ on record now appear as rude distractions from the band’s inability to negotiate a melody.

Of their individual virtuosity there is no doubt – [a]Simian[/a] boast four-part vocal harmonies, several elaborate synthesizers and, in frontman Simon Lord, a coolly confident singer. With further application, the whole should soon be more than the sum of its parts.