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Joy Zipper – Koko 17th June 2005

So for the first part of the evening we’re at Camden Palace (now absurdly renamed ‘Koko’ – why? Is it like an ironic take on provincial nite-clubs called Ritzys and stuff?) to see Joy Zipper. An unpleasant pall is immediately cast over proceedings by the excruciating support band Kubb. Argh, even the name sets my teeth on edge. You can imagine what they're like I sure ain't giving them the oxygen of publicity.

Gulping hard, I swallow down my revulsion and settle in for the obligatory, inexplicably loong wait for Joy Zipper. When they come on, oh joy! they’re swaddled in the halo glow of a zillion heart-shaped fairy lights curling across the stage. So that’s alright then. As ever, they’re fuzzily lovely, twirling out a selection of songs from new LP ‘The Heartlight Set’ plus yummy oldies (though no ‘Check Out My New Jesus’ boo). But there’s something not quite connecting. Things start with the snappy clappy shuffle beat of ‘Go Tell The World’ and we’re all wiggling fingers in our ears ‘cos the sound is WELL DODGY (more minus points for ‘Koko’). Next up is ‘Baby You Should Know’ which should swoop and shimmer in all the right places but just doesn’t. Hmmm. RockDove’ is droopily dreamy with Vinnie blurring out the words against a rather ott bass sound. Mmm Vinnie, still rocking the spaced indie guitar boy thang to perfection beneath shaggy dark hair that sort of curls, ish. Yin to his Yang, Tabitha coos (in a good way) from behind her glowing keyboard and long blonde hair. They’re so perfect together, if they didn’t exist you’d have to invent them and make a comic book about their crazy rock ‘n’ roll adventures.

Pants on fire
Summery swoon The new songs have apparently been consciously designed to work live, they’re simpler, less lusciously layered than previous sets. It feels like a backwards step to me. They sparkle poppily and growl rockily but never take off and spacily morph the whole room into a single pulsing entity. Not from where I’m standing anyway. Take forthcoming single ‘1’ for example, where once it buzzed woozily, now it fair rollicks along, it’s kind of…jovial. Still, there are delicious little moments. ‘You’re so Good’ fizzes glammily before crashing into a summery swoon of a chorus. ‘Anything You Sent’ bustles cutely like ‘Summer in The City’. ‘For Lenny’s Own Pleasure’ has Tabitha summoning the ghost of Lenny Bruce via immaculately articulated imagery. She breathes in air and breathes out light. The best comes last, or maybe we’ve just all warmed up. Encoring with olde favorites ‘Christmas Song’ and ‘Window’, finally Joy Zipper glow like warm embers in your heart.
Ultimately, there’s a sense of corporate oars being stuck in where they’re not wanted that’s detracting from the shiny marvel that Joy Zipper can be. Their web site offers the chance to sign up and ‘receive updates about new releases, preferential ticket purchase opportunities, PA's, exclusive competitions…blah blah’ which sounds like so much grim marketing hooey to me. I know bands need to make a living, but jeez where’s the magic?
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