Live Review: Victorian English
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, Clwd Ifor Bach, Cardiff. Friday, July 3
To those boasting correctly functioning libidos, it seems sex and indie rock are uncomfortable bedfellows. Except nobody told Cardiff art-rock anomalies The Victorian English Gentlemens Club, whose second coming – no pun intended – has veiled nookie on the damn brain. Not that the uninitiated would twig via visual clues alone. Announcing their reincarnation with a hometown shindig that proves more succinct than sexy, there’s precious little pillow talk, pleasantries banished in a rush to bash out as many gems as possible from overdue forthcoming second set ‘Love On An Oil Rig’. Romance isn’t dead, y’all. It just went a little, well, weird.
VEGC are notably altered from the trio that clattered through a partially-fulfilling self-titled debut three years ago, sonically and literally. Now numbering four, new drummer Dan Lazenby renders them statistically ballsier at 50 per cent gentlemen. He’s a crashing sticksman contributing necessary velocity to clout their inner Belle & Sebastian dead. And, aside from increasing twee-secretary-standing-on-an-amplifier vibes, additional guitarist Steph Jones cranks up clanging treble levels sufficiently to neuter anybody straying too close to a stage decorated like Morrissey’s dream village fete: plentiful flowers strewn under wavering bunting.
Nowhere is VEGC’s new danger more apparent than brand spanking single ‘Parrot’, two minutes of Louise Mason’s gut-awakening bass grind peppered with “oh-way-oh” harmonies Klaxons would auction their Mercury Prize for.Frontman Adam Taylor leads the undead shuffle, a veritable C86 Kurt Cobain, blond fringe obscuring lips emitting streams of (possibly) innuendo-ridden yelps.
‘Periscope Envy’ turns a submarine into an item of sexual comparison. Even ‘Bored In Belgium’, a Pixies-echoing ditty outwardly detailing a continental migraine, can’t resist slipping in the alarmingly sugar-sweet mantra “banging and banging and banging”. And ‘The Venereal Game’? We don’t even want to know that back story. Ask not what the Victorians did for us, but rather what these Victorians will do, given half a chance, to you.