London Camden Jazz Cafe

He was the hardcore [B]Jarvis Cocker[/B], now he's the post-rock [B]Jarvis Cocker[/B]. That's progress for you...

When he was in Joeyfat, Matt Cole used to throw Rice Krispies at the audience. Now he’s a twilight troubadour, swaying drunkenly, muttering something about [I]”stray dogs on their way to Battersea”[/I]. He was the hardcore Jarvis Cocker, now he’s the post-rock Jarvis Cocker. That’s progress for you.

Chiefly, for the Club Giants, this entails the novel approach of melding surreal observations in operatic voices with the angular guitar excursions native to the American Midwest. Eccentricity meeting obscurity – imagine Gilbert & Sullivan meeting Slint, and you’re fairly close.

New single ‘Royal And Ancient’ is a case in point. Rhythms hesitate, stall, then settle into a restrained shuffle, as Matt Cole towers above the stage imperiously, entertaining the sparse but mesmerised crowd with this tale of deluded regal ambition. Complemented throughout by the dissonant keyboard buzz of fellow ex-Joeyfatter Aidan Taylor, Club Giants stalk a line between genius and ridiculous pretension with a thrilling aplomb.

It’s hardly a sound which welcomes you in, but so what? Cole‘s attitude is appropriately icy and aloof for this time of year, and his band are a bracing antidote to the docile platitudes of Stereophonics and their ilk. Giant steps indeed.