Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
The Zutons : Glasgow Carling Academy, March 20
The Fever’s reaching epidemic proportions now…
Though a surprising number of the audience are in the process of passing into their twilight years, peppered throughout are pockets of The Youth, those smart-eared wastrels who were tuned into The Zutons long before their Mercury nomination made the now nearly-double-platinum ‘Who Killed…’ essential mid-life-crisis-averting fodder. Their investment is rewarded tonight, for onstage are not the Coral-lite misfits of many months ago, but a band crackling with more talent than their Ian Broudie-produced debut alluded to.
Witness ‘Zuton Fever’, converted tonight from three-minute jangly calling card to the aural equivalent of eating a firecracker – a seven-minute freakout in which Dave McCabe lets loose a series of primal screams and several calculated strobe bursts leave The Zutons’ kick-drum logo scarred onto the retinas of the front rows. Abi Harding’s staccato sax yields a burst of audience admiration, although it may just be the back-lighting piercing her tissue-thin dress.
At the other end of the sexiness spectrum is Dave McCabe who tonight, his hair soaked with sweat, bares a shocking resemblance to Tom Chaplin’s seedy uncle. At least his pipes are in good nick, especially on new song ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’, a gorgeous downtempo number that’s gracious enough to throw a verse or two Abi’s way. “If any of you have lost a friend, this song’s for you, man,” he says before ‘Remember Me’, during which Abi’s sax and Boyan’s guitar seemingly get into a vicious argument. The winner? The audience, obviously.
Acknowledging the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes box in the front row that’s been held aloft all night, McCabe begins the instrumental encore. An Egypto-funk tribal odyssey featuring dueling sax and melodica, it ends with The Zutons taking a bow arm-in-arm, and casually strolling off. So, Zutons: roll on LP number two. You’ve some converts waiting.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album