Sunday, 22 November 2009

God Help The Girl / Pocketbooks - 100 Club, 21 November 2009

Pocketbooks in ‘reminiscent of Belle And Sebastian’ shockah! There were nervous scenes at the 100 Club last night, as a member of top London indiepoppers Pocketbooks mentioned that the idea of playing support to God Help The Girl was making them excited yet uneasy. The fact that they would be playing their B&S-inspired groovily breezy janglepop in front of head B&S-er Stuart Murdoch was the cause of this distress, but as it turned out Murdoch was down the road scoffing a pizza during Pocketbooks set and missed the whole thing.

More fool him as Pocketbooks play a blinder, their swoonsome pop racing along making heads and hearts dip and glide. Old faves like ‘Footsteps’ ‘The Outskirts Of Town’ and ‘Fleeting Moments’ make us feel warm and fuzzy and joyful, even when Emma’s voice is being all poignant. It’s a gleeful opening to the evening and not that much like B&S really. Afterwards there are more shock revelations as a spokesperson for the band admits ‘We were good’.

In other news, God Help The Girl, the girl-group combo created by Stuart Murdoch, sound smooth and cocktail party-ish. They’re entertaining live, but maybe not something I’d sit and listen to at home (although I am listening to Amon Duul II’s ‘Yeti’ as I type so what the hell do I know?) Cleverly, Murdoch has managed to choose three extremely pretty girls to front the group, Alex Klobouk, Celia Garcia and Catherine Ireton. They can all sing, too - gorgeous harmonies leading the way on songs like opener ‘Act Of The Apostle’ (complete with co-ordinated hand movements that are rather Pipettes-esque).

They do seem a little nervous though. It turns out this is their first EVER headline gig and their second EVER gig at all. The band includes Murdoch himself who encourages us to look at the girls, ‘Is that sexist? What’s wrong with being sexy?’ Ha ha. There are also fellow Belle and Seb-blokes Stevie ‘Action’ Jackson (sporting big hair) and Bob Kildea, plus Teenage Fannie/ BMX Bandit (etc) Francis MacDonald.

The obvious musical reference is 60s girl group pop, with a soupcon of indiepop, but there are also hints of 50s doo-wop, and suggestions of a simpler, sweeter era in the squeaky clean delivery. Stuart Murdoch is apparently aiming to create big pure pop music with kitsch-en sink lyrics and he seems to have pulled it off very efficiently. We even get a new song, 'Saturday Night, the Loneliest Night of the Week'.

The set closes with Murdoch finally taking centre stage (he’s been sitting tinkering variously on guitar and keyboards throughout) to sing 'Perfection As A Hipster' during which the infamous Murdoch ‘soul boy’ dancing is unleashed. A perfect conclusion to a sugary pop evening.

1 comment:

String Bean Jen said...

Engaging review as always. And totally agree with all of it!