Simian : London Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club

Tonight they're very much stars in our eyes

It’s like walking on to the set of ‘Phoenix Nights’. Amidst the pints of mild, soggy bunting and flat caps, arch pop alchemists Simian are showcasing their forthcoming second album ‘We Are Your Friends’. One wag even suggests that, in homage to a scene from Peter Kay’s show, the Manchester quartet could come on and do a ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ version of The Beta Band.

Instead Simian coolly blaze through a 45-minute set that offers ample evidence to suggest they’ve reigned in the propensity for psychedelic self-indulgence which made last year’s ‘Chemistry Is What We Are’ LP such a hit-and-miss affair. The four-part harmonies on gloriously upbeat new single ‘Never Be Alone’, the crashing rhythmic momentum of ‘Sunshine’ and the good-time vibes of ‘La Breeze’ owe far more to the likes of The Beach Boys, which is certainly no bad thing. Old favourite ‘One Dimension’ likewise benefits hugely from the sharper approach, a drowsy acid-soaked fable convincingly transformed into a life-affirming anthem.

Simian will be your friends through winter and beyond. Tonight they’re very much stars in our eyes.

Alan Woodhouse