London King’s Cross Water Rats

London King's Cross Water Rats

Sting. The Lighthouse family. Erm, Jimmy Nail... Counting the names of pop stars - let alone credible bands - who have trickled out of Tyneside has always been a difficult and thankless task....

STING. THE LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY. Erm, Jimmy Nail… Counting the names of pop stars – let alone credible bands – who have trickled out of Tyneside has always been a difficult and thankless task. Say hello, then, to Newcastle’s nascent five-piece Spraydog who, besides making a fine racket, can now be added to the Northeast’s cobwebbed Hall Of Fame.

By all accounts, though, we should be severely reprimanding our noisy new friends. For at a time when the long-range forecast for most things guitar-based is looking pretty bleak, in waltz Spraydog with their spiky, self-assured pop dynamics and scant regard for the foibles of a bloated industry or, for that matter, today’s current musical climate. They’re far happier being kitted out in old-skool indie uniforms circa 1991 – a time when Sonic Youth wrote proper songs and it was OK to like The Wedding Present.

Still, we don’t make the rules. And it’s to Spraydog’s credit that the sinewy jangling and wired boy/girl harmonies on ‘Waster I’m’ and ‘Acorn’ attest to something approaching feral experimentation and not a tired facsimile of an old Swervedriver standard. But then negotiate the atonal hammering of ‘Is The Hallway Blue?’ and you wonder if the reason they play with such loud, fierce passion is to disguise the fact that they’ve only got about five recognisable tunes.

Which, at this impressionable level, is significantly more than most. Not quite as many as Sting, though. Still, should give Jimmy Nail cause for concern.