Thirteen:13 : London Camden Dingwalls

This time last year, Thirteen:13 were a mess. The singer could barely sing, the band could barely play, and debut single 'Perfect Imperfection' was the only decent song they had.

This time last year, Thirteen:13 were a mess. The singer could barely sing, the band could barely play, and debut single ‘Perfect Imperfection’ was the only decent song they had. Worst of all, they were a smug bunch, seemingly convinced that their deal with Polydor guaranteed them fame and fortune. Menswear comparisons abounded.

Thankfully, a year of hard graft – on the road and in the studio – has done

Thirteen:13 a power of good. For one thing, they’ve tightened up considerably: tonight, tracks like ‘Dirty Water’ and ‘Not Forever’ sound like sturdy indie-pop anthems where once they were thin dirges. They’ve also added some strong new material to their set.

‘Perfect Imperfection’ is still their best song, but rousing new single ‘Try’ and the epic ‘Reconcile’ both run it close.

Of course, some of this band’s problems will never go away. For all his good looks, Wayne Murray will never be a great singer, and tonight his weak voice is exposed on the mediocre likes of ‘Hoax’ and ‘I Need An Army To Protect Me’.

But there’s no denying that Thirteen:13 have evolved a great deal from their very humble beginnings. And on tonight’s evidence, their imminent debut album may yet spring a few surprises.

Niall O’Keeffe