London King’s College

You don't have time to catch your breath...

Streak-of-piss singer Gary Lightbody swings from epileptic fits to static poses, his guitar sometimes a feedbacking blur, sometimes balanced precariously on his head. He’s the unhinged centre of this punk-pop shitstorm, a necessary focus for a band whose music could too easily rattle by without definition.

It’s not that Snow Patrol don’t have the tunes – new single ‘Ask Me How I Am’ is a brilliant Beck-esque lope, while the tracks they showcase from their forthcoming ‘When It’s All Over We Still Have To Clear Up’ LP all rock like avant-glam firebombs – but that they attack everything with the same pogoing hysteria.

You don’t have time to catch your breath. The spiky, Placebo-heavy newie ‘Chased By… I Dunno What’ is followed by the dense ‘Absolute Gravity’ with just enough time for Irishman Lightbody to ask us who we want for England manager (no time for us to answer). Eventually, we give up on trying to keep up and just let the guitar noise envelop us. This proposition is made more attractive by the fact that Snow Patrol are bolstered now by Happy Mondays axe-mangler Wags, whose hypnotic, reverb-laden roar is as overwhelming as ever.

By the end of a coruscating ‘Get Balsamic Vinegar… Quick You Fool’, the KC freshers are fully inducted into the ways of the student gig. Drink too much beer. Heckle the lanky frontman. Find your eardrums burst because you’re too close to the speaker. Fall over.

Christian Ward