London Camden Monarch

The Britpop revival starts here...

The Britpop revival starts here. Tonight at the Monarch, it’s no surprise to see Simon and Chris from Menswear in the audience, because Thirteen:13 are their spiritual heirs. On paper they seem to have it all: pouting good looks, foppish arrogance, Blur connections, major-label backing… but the clichéd indie-boy posturing of ‘I Need An Army to Protect Me’ makes for a feeble opening salvo. And it gets worse.

Toby McFarlaine’s paper-thin voice is cruelly exposed as he mewls his way through ‘Act Like You Know Her’ and while Ben Etchells may do a nice line in moody Bernard Butler poses, he fails to do anything remotely interesting with his guitar all night.

“This is to us what ‘China In Your Hand’ is to T’Pau,” announces McFarlaine at one point. Bizarrely, he’s talking about the Muse-aping ‘Truth Hurts’- bizarre because recent single ‘Perfect Imperfection’ is clearly the Thirteens’ best song by a country mile. Tonight it’s an irrepressible pop thrill that must be the best expression of what they think they sound like. But then

they go and ruin things with

‘Jason Says’, an insufferably

fey slice of Americana in the

vein of Graham Coxon’s godawful solo material.

By the time the Thirteens sign off with ‘Hoax’, which sounds like one of Blur’s Pavement homages, Simon and Chris Menswear are nowhere to be seen. Presumably the night has dredged up too many bad memories for them. For the rest of us, it’s been all too forgettable.

Niall O’Keefe