London King’s Cross Water Rats

Like spiritual bedfellows [a]Spearmint[/a], what really gets [a]Contempo[/a] hairy-palmed with lust is northern soul...

Looking like a bunch of Dickensian street urchins dressed for an all-nighter, [a]Contempo[/a] are not your average late-’90s rock’n’roll group. They’re far more your early-’80s sort of band: The Jam, The Clash, Dexys. Anyone, basically, who has shot down their dull suburban lives with furious, yet oddly celebratory tirades about life-draining signing-on experiences.

Occasionally they’re a little too close to their heroes, but even then, they play their tunes with such conviction, it merely reminds you why Kevin Rowland and Paul Weller once mattered.

Like spiritual bedfellows Spearmint, what really gets [a]Contempo[/a] hairy-palmed with lust is northern soul. Theirs is a world where top tunes drenched in Stax horns really did sweep the nation, not just a few deserted holiday camps in Lancashire. So ‘On The Floor’, new single ‘My One Way Out’, and the mighty ‘U B Naughty’ twitch like they’ve been up all night on bargain amphetamines, revel in sexy flourishes and thrill to the idea of dancing till dawn.

If you’re searching for the real young soul rebels, you’ll need something a little more forward-thinking. But as a reminder of how much exuberant, political-tinged pop music can mean, they don’t come much sharper.

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