review archive

Young Heart Attack / The Fever / Earlimart -The Monarch 17th June 2003

I like Earlimart before they even clamber aboard stage. They have nice haircuts and fadey tee shirts and the singer wears a sensible cardigan. Tres schmindie, but I always thought that mangy old cardigan was Kurty C’s best look, so more cardys in rock!

Earlimart are woozy, they have red fairylights wrapped around the singer’s mic stand and strung about the keyboard creating a cosy glow. In between tunes the sounds of birdsong and scratchy old records playing in dust-moted rooms scritch out. It’s all kinda pleasant. Maybe rock ‘n’ roll shouldn’t be pleasant, but you know, pleasant = good feelings. Alongside cardy-boy is a girl on bass/keyboard swapping duties. She gets to sing a song, her voice softly beguiling. Then there’s another guitar boy (sensible hair) who’s in charge of the shrieky hold yer guitar up against the amps bits during Earlimart’s squonky loud guitar songs, treading similar bramble-strewn paths as Urusei Yatsura. Amidst all the fiery buzzing and spitting, a very drunk young man ambles forward and tries to mosh with himself, arms dangling, knuckles dragging hopelessly. Then Earlimart go all quiet and lulling, tickling out dreamy, drifty songs. The v.d.y.m. shuffles away again. Music can be confusing like that y’see.
more cardys in rock!
I take against The Fever before they take to the stage. I don’t like the singer’s hair and he looks too big and healthy to be in a band, more like a public schoolboy. And, blimey! He’s called Geremy. Plus they’re another band from New York. Isn’t it time to start hating those yet? But! The plucky Yanks win the day by winning me over, ‘cos it’s all in the tunes, innit? It’s a rum old mix of schlocky ‘50s (see: The Cramps) churned up with early ’80s funkartpunk and once again the sounds of Television ride high. Oh lordy, are we really going to have to live through the entire eighties oeuvre again? Check out The Fever’s record sleeves, all very ‘entering the digital futurree!’ early ‘80s imagery. Still, live they’re cranky ‘n’ spanky with plenty of draping over the mic stand, stomping about the stage etc. They chuck out a jolly old adrenaline rush of scattered beats, yelps, wiggy guitars and funkin’ organ. Best tune to stand up and be counted is ‘Ladyfingers’ with ace boingy noises and frantic, tumbledown chorus. And they have a drummer called Achilles. What else do you need?
blimey! He’s called Geremy
I recently read an interview with Patti Smith in which she argued that rock ’n’ roll has lost its way as an art form. Been taken over by an emphasis on style over content, careerism over revolution. And how a similar thing was happening to music in the ‘70s ‘It was in a bad state in the ‘70s. I wanted to return rock ‘n’ roll to the people. I wanted to help it regain its innocence and urgency.’ Good point there, Patti. So here we are in 2003 listening to Led Zeppelin hammering out over the sound system as a techie with a particularly foul Hoxton haircut grapples with failing monitors and Young Heart Attack hang about sheepishly waiting for their first ever ‘Hello London!’ moment.
shake your hair
Monitors fixed, Led Zep fade and YHA fling us their bestest, dirtiest, thumpingest rock grooves. It’s not art, it’s a million miles from original or innocent. It’s pretty damn close to what Patti was trying to rescue the ‘70s from. So why do I enjoy myself so much? Big fat guitar riffs wrap themselves round your hips. You have to shake your hair and stamp your heels as head yodeller Chris under his Robert Plant mop trades lusty-hearted vocals with gum-snappingly cool Jennifer and her feathered seventies ‘do.

This is truck-stop rock, starting with Kitten fave, ‘Mouthful of Love’ and powering through a bucket-load of stomp-to-the-beat good time tunes. You can’t not dance to this stuff, as Jennifer swings and winds herself around the mic stand and we wonder why she doesn’t appear to have a belly button. Smokin’ second single ‘Tommy Shots’ rattles out and we all gleefully sweat some more.

There’s a cover of the MC5’s (you just knew they’d get a look in somewhere, eh?) gorgeous ‘Over and Over’. It’s good to hear this song belted out live, but why’s it going to be YHA’s next single? It was the b-side of their first single and it’s never going to top the original, so why bother? Especially when the band have got plenty of their own stuff to thrill our happy little rock hearts with. Which they do; this is the best gig-fun I’ve had in ages and I go home with a big dumb rock grin on my face.

Hunt the belly button
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