It’s all about effort. A little of it can transform an unremarkable band into something quite special – too much can render a quite special band rather ridiculous. Tonight, we get both flips of the coin.
[a]Crashland[/a] are your basic power trio, toeing the pop/metal line in such a way that might, on a bad day, make them [a]Feeder[/a]. However, they are equipped with the talents of one floppy haired Alex Troupe, whose spirited rock-muppet performance gives them an unexpected edge. His voice is vaguely Billy Corgan, and every song on their ‘Standard Love Affair’ debut EP is shot through with a healthy helping of Supergrass, but it’s the punkoid shape-throwing reminiscent of a young Buzzcocks that makes songs like set-closer ‘Little Dreams’ so curiously infectious.
The Ecologist, on the other hand, don’t need the attitude because they’ve already got the tunes. Their debut ‘Hot Filth’ LP is a deliciously groovy melting pot of just about every musical genre going – resulting in a noise suggestive of both Lo-Fidelity Allstars and The Beta Band, yet thoroughly, dizzyingly, individual.
When singer Tom L appears onstage toting a 5ft-high antique candelabra and wearing a top hat embellished with diamantes and a startling blue plume, you can either let it distract you from the excellent madness of the music or accept it as a Regular Fries-type nod to the absurd. Unfortunately, it is terribly difficult not to think ‘Boy George‘, and by the time they’ve finished, half the audience have vanished.
Confounding expectations is what makes The Ecologist so bafflingly brilliant. A little less hat, though, might go a very long way.