London Croydon Fairfield Hall

The former [B]Kitchen Of Distinction[/B] and [B]Fruit[/B] frontman positively beams as he strums through [B]'A Reason To Live'[/B], the best song his new band, [B]Lost Girls[/B], possess...

After nearly a decade of pretending not to care, Patrick Fitzgerald, finally, really doesn’t. And he is happy. The former Kitchen Of Distinction and Fruit frontman positively beams as he strums through ‘A Reason To Live’, the best song his new band, Lost Girls, possess, his voice still fragile, still strangely reassuring.

For the most part, it’s his partner in song, sometime 4AD folk artist Heidi Berry, who leads the Girls cautiously down avenues of detailed introspection and restrained drones. It’s a courteous noise, yet wholly unpleasant, and one which, on songs like ‘Needle’s Eye’, partially hides Berry‘s earnest full-moon yearnings. They’re not lost at all; rather, the journey’s just begun.

Novak, meanwhile, are still trying to find a direction. Having deliberated for too long over any singular governing style, the Birmingham seven-piece now seem determined to assert their independence by indulging their individual musical whims, often sacrificing a much-needed coherence in the process.

One of the initial attractions of Novak lay in the way they eked a vague beauty from such structured chaos, yet hampered tonight by poor sound, not even ‘Boy Scouts Of America’ or ‘Hotter Is Faster’ can honestly profess to contain anything as extravagant as a tune. Some face is salvaged with the final faux-naive rumble of ‘Lord Of The World’. Frustratingly, it’s too little too late.