review archive

Klang / Miss Pain Upstairs at the Garage 12th April 2004

Electro fever hits indie-world! Over the last few months, Strange Fruit nights out have become increasingly permeated by blipso-disco tunes being spun amidst the Tender Trap and Vermont songs. Tonight, the krazy SF kidz are going for a pretty full-on bleep-fest. We grin as Propaganda’s ‘Duel’ pulsates across the floor. Lyrics locked inside our heads since 1985 surprise us by seeping out of our mouths word-perfect. Seventeen years ago this song seemed the epitome of icy Teutonic cool, now it sounds like a sweet tinkley popsong.

homely version of futuristic kool

Speaking of icy Teutonic cool, Miss Pain are from er, Brighton. They have ‘Police Line Do Not Cross’ tape strung across the front of the stage – nice touch. Miss Pain herself is Sarah on synths, theremin, vocals and shape-throwing totter-heeled dance moves. She’s dressed in a nurse’s uniform, none of yer dubious pvc nonsense here, it’s a proper NHS dowdy-looking one which kind of enhances the perversity more. Then there are Dominic and Verity, two of the Strange Fruit gang, on guitar/vocals and synthy sounds. Dominic’s gone for a charming Kraftwerk look, complete with skinny pink (plastic?) tie and what appears to be one of those ‘be safe, be seen’ reflective cycling sashes over his shirt, kind of a homely version of futuristic kool.

The sound of Miss Pain is the sound of knowing kids rummaging through several decades of pop music culture; 80’s synthpop bleeds through the years to meet krautrock and then they both gang up on ‘50s rock ‘n’roll. Sarah intones above the grumbling bass and squonking blips and wooshes. Dominic leads a creepy-crawly sub Cramps electro rumble. There’s a spooked up ‘Just Like Honey’ drumbeat, like The Raveonettes with an imagination inplant. This is the ‘50s heard through an apocalypse, Neu with Radio 2 playing in the background, Ladytron gone Hammer Horror.

enhanced perversity
kronkled up spikey pop
Klang are not as clinical and Kraftwerky beepy as I’d imagined from reading reviews. They’re altogether funkier, funner and more touching. Warmer, kronkled up spikey pop, bit of Kills-like minimalist thumpheavy rockery. Very groovy thundery bass lines, hiptwitching rhythms and lock-in grooves, this must be where the Krautrocking comes in. The band exchanging grins. Donna’s minimalist lyrics. Oh yes, Donna. Used to be in some well-known band, so let’s get the comparisons out the way. Well the voice is the same, breathy, straight up. The tunes aren’t a million miles away either, but there’s a streamlined simplicity at play here, the songs squiggling and scratching under your skin. Donna herself looking doe-eyed and cherubic like when we first encountered her peering from ‘neath her as-yet-to-be-styled fringe.
Orgasm Addict

Isabel on bass is swathed in a big yellow t-shirt with Linder Sterling’s ‘Orgasm Addict’ design. She whumps out fab gut-thudding bass lines. With pork-pie hatted Keisuke on rat-tatting drums completing the trio, this is a lot more than the Donna Matthews show. Get past that and you can get on with enjoying this sparse, hungry music as it creeps up and hi-jacks your dancing muscles.

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