Monday, 4 May 2009

Je Suis Animal / Betty And The Werewolves / Hong Kong In The 60s – 24 April 2009, The Victoria

There are cupcakes on the door and Bobby McGees in the audience, which must mean we’re at Twee As Fuck. More importantly though, this gig is happening a short stroll from where we live – it’s genius! Je Suis Animal are in our ‘hood! We can look out the windows and see the familiar scummo streets but they’re sound-tracked by fantastical fairytale sounds.

First off, Hong Kong In The 60s cast soothing spells with a motley selection of keyboards. They offer up elegant swoons and toybox twists and play a smattering of songs from their debut E.P. ‘Willow Pattern Songs’ OUT SOON!! The tunes have delightful titles such as ‘Empty House, Lonely Mouse’, ‘The Organdy Snood’ and ‘Fox’s Wedding’. They swoosh and wash over us and are enchanting and wistful and twinkly and sumptuous.

Betty And The Werewolves are feeling a bit tipsy, thanks to drinking beer that ‘tastes like a cake’. The drummer has just vommed in the lavs, but he soldiers on anyway, battering away at the kit whilst the front of the stage is taken up by three smiling girls doing wee leaps and bounds and crunching out top tunes like the galloping ‘Tu Veux Jouer’ and new single ‘David Cassidy’ (old ‘Look-In’ annuals have got a lot to answer for). The music makes me think of The Rosehips being slightly less hardcore or maybe Bubblegum Splash! with added Girls In The Garage-ness. Fast, ramshackle, gleeful. Betty And The Werewolves seem to be about playing swingoriffic skiffley riffs, speeding through songs, jumping up and down, wearing ginchy frocks, hoooowwwwling like wolves and having a lot of fun. It’s nice to see a band enjoying themselves.

There’s a midnight curfew, so Je Suis Animal are playing against the clock – a slightly battered antique clock-face hanging on the wall above the stage, tocking down the minutes on big old roman numerals. This is appropriately story-bookish as Je Suis Animal sound like twisted nursery rhymes in haunted houses. They are here to launch their new single, ‘The Mystery Of Marie Roget’ – based on an Edgar Allen Poe tale. It’s a catchy wee number – tootling and fluttering around inside my head all day. Je Suis Animal are tuneful buggers in general – listen to the super soaring Lush-ness of ‘Painted In My Face’ or the chiming swallow-diving ‘Sparkle Spit’. Quickly now, because the songs are ricocheting past at a fair old lick. Look, there goes a twinkle-pop curiosity in the form of a cover of Joe Meek’s ‘Hobbies’. In their attempt to cram everything in before we all turn into pumpkins, Je Suis Animal’s set ends up sounding a tad perfunctory tonight. They’re still great, just not as wooshingly epic and cinemascopic as they can be.

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