Three quiet people who look like they think euphoria is a small Baltic state yet inspire devotional hysteria and a [a]Blur[/a]-secret-gig kind of a turn-out...

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London Malet Street ULU

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London Malet Street ULU

Forget flyers and posters – there should have been a password in the small ads, a coded message in a dead letterbox. This isn’t so much a gig as a covert meeting, not so much a band as a cell of socio-linguistic terrorists. This is The Lapse, three quiet people who look like they think euphoria is a small Baltic state yet inspire devotional hysteria and a [a]Blur[/a]-secret-gig kind of a turn-out. Somehow, this is what being former members of New Jersey minimalists The Van Pelt buys you on the alt-rock black market these days.

It’s just reward. You’d happily have your brain washed for the guitar alone – thrillingly arcane riffs, fresh-minted from [a]Slint[/a]World, underpinned by Toko Yasuda‘s opaque bass – yet there’s also the feeling of being instructed in something Very Important Indeed. Singer Chris Leo looks like he’d be mimeographing pamphlets in an attic if he wasn’t up there issuing forceful guitar directives and shouting his mysteriously politicised lyrics.

The compass-point precision of ‘Hide Your Daughters’ draws a bitterly satirical graph of perversion, while the blink-and-stutter of ‘The Speeding Train’ makes a list of things worth loving, including – endearingly revolutionary, this – “the puppy’s chin”. “I answer to beauty”, Leo shouts, and everyone smiles.

The password it seems, is ‘excellent’. Commit it to memory. Wait for the next sign.