Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Crocodiles/ Cloud Nothings/ Paris, Suit Yourself @ Barfly

Every band likes to think that they’re making a sound that no one on earth has ever made, but halfway through Paris Suit Yourself’s blister inducing set, it becomes clear that these guys genuinely are. Howling, scratchy, feedback heavy, tracks from their delightfully named debut ‘My Main Shit Stain’ are a little bit TV On The Radio and a little bit Ol’ Dirty Bastard - but completely their own.

This is largely thanks to the unique presence of singer Luvinsky Atche, who prowls the stage like a man in need of a strait jacket, mumbling, groaning, and tearing at his clothes. Around him it sounds like the world has ended. At one point the band make a sound like a samba party taking place on a broken down Magic Roundabout. All the while they groan and screech like they’re trying to pick fights with their own bodies. For sheer spectacle it’s incredible, as a performance art piece about the fragility of the psyche it would work wonderfully, but largely it’s a tuneless ego trip. It’s also brain-meltingly loud, especially after a weekend on the lash.

Thankfully, Cloud Nothings, the main reason I’ve journeyed to Camden tonight, don’t disappoint. The sound is so polished and so perfectly spiky that it’s easy to forget that these guys can’t even drink in their native US. Every song is a pop punk gem, bringing to mind Dookie era Greenday and Blink 182 before they were awful. As each thrashing riff starts up and singer Dylan Baldi’s voice cracks and strains, you can practically smell the spot cream and rebellion. Despite having been formed just over a year ago, the group have already managed to release two albums, showing that they’re not taking this whole music thing lying down. Even so, it feels like the band should be playing their school’s talent competition as they lark around and make jokes about apple sauce. There's plenty of cheekiness on display as well. “This is the first tour we’ve played in a while where everyone has proper drug songs” smirks Dylan with a grin that lets us know that he’s no stranger to blocking his door with draught excluders to stop the tell-tale smell of weed seeping into his parent’s bedroom.

If Paris Suit Yourself have been at the hallucinogenics and Cloud Nothings have been puffing the magic dragon, then it’s clear where their supply came from - the cool kids in the school yard - Crocodiles. Some bands ooze charisma and rock 'n' roll star quality. Crocodiles are one of them. Parts Iggy Pop, parts Johnny Rotten, parts Lou Reed, there’s so much attitude and confrontation on-stage that you want to tell them to go to their bedrooms. Especially when Brandon Welchez sneers that the lights need to be turned down “So you can’t see my zits”

A lot of the bands from the lo- fi/surf rock scene are too strung out to be professional, but even when they’re covering everything in a fuzzy blanket; Crocodiles remain a tight and focused unit, clearly hell bent on world domination. While bands like Tame Impala or No Age seem just to be about having fun, Crocodiles take everything very seriously. This is not just about getting the money together to buy their next round. Their sound then, is not only swirly and trippy, but anthemic as well. Chugging through songs from 'Sleep Forever', there’s a sense that they might be a group who will outlive the constraints of the scene that has birthed them. They’ve certainly got the attitude. Let’s just hope the feds don’t pull over the tour bus before they get there. It’s going to be like Cheech and Chong in there.

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