Newcastle Civic Hall

Negotiating the warm space somewhere between rich, organic Krautrock and buoyant electronica must be a thankless task...

You have to laugh, really, or at least sympathise with ELECTRIC SOUND OF JOY‘s ongoing struggle with sanity. Six months ago they had a singer and a support tour with [a]Arab Strap[/a]. Now, bereft of said frontman (he left) and the eager attentions of cred-boosting record labels, there seems, superficially, little to be joyful about.

That this Nottingham four-piece continue to craft a beguiling shambles of spirited keyboard melody and NEU! guitar flange while all around them crumbles is testament to their determination and dogged self-belief. It helps, too, that spiralling bossa nova instrumentals like ‘Don’t Waste Our Time’ and ‘Musicland’ dissolve into linear strips of rippling STEREOLAB percussive funk and that, appropriately, an amplified hiss hangs over the whole set. Even when it’s this right, it’s still endearingly wrong.

Still, the sweet ebb and flow of ‘Country Piano’ and ‘Euro’ positions these serious-looking lads as natural descendants of The Beta Band’s illustrious widescreen vision. Only more disciplined and with less hair.

Negotiating the warm space somewhere between rich, organic Krautrock and buoyant electronica must be a thankless task, but ESOJ have to keep on chipping away at their own unique niche.