…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Clinic/The Faint/British Sea Power : London Astoria

The latest NME Carling Show is a rock'n'roll rollercoaster ride...

All the bands on tonight’s bill have one thing in common: high seriousness. By sucking the marrow out of Joy Division, Magazine and The Psychedelic Furs, [a]British Sea Power[/a]

are already streets ahead in that department. ‘Fear Of Drowning’ and forthcoming single ‘The Spirit Of St Louis’ are wonderfully stark and precise in their execution.

From Nebraska via a Duran Duran video, The Faint teleport into the UK for the first time in a haze of electro-static and billowing smoke. The fact that they’re dressed in black and are lit by a solitary red light suggests they’re guys we can work with. When they start to blast out a synth-rock manifesto that manages to combine [a]Marilyn Manson[/a], Bronski Beat and the subterranean nightlife of the 80s, we’re certain of it.

The last time we saw [a]Clinic[/a], they looked like heart surgeons called out mid-operation. Tonight, they’re dressed as Pearly Kings and you can’t help but admire the attitude. Their new album (‘Walking With Thee’) is a concerted attempt to move their sound on from the clipped garage dynamics of their debut, and there’s plenty here to suggest it’s going to succeed.

While [a]Clinic[/a] are still developing, for [a]And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead[/a] the time is definitely now. In the wake of [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a], [a]Strokes[/a] and [a]White Stripes[/a], they’ll never have a better chance to scrawl their names in rock history – and they know it. Tonight they swap the haywire incompetence for something dangerously close to discipline.

For just over an hour, then, they’re fast, compact and thrilling. By the time they reach the closing ‘Teenhood’, you can sense they’re glad they’ve made it. Drums are hurled wildly into the audience, bassist Neil Busch disappears under the weight of his own speaker stack and half the band dive into the audience. [a]And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead[/a] are back and – like everyone else tonight – they’re determined that this time it’s going to be serious.

James Oldham