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O. ChildrenO. Children

Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Thursday June 7



Well, someone's been listening to My Bloody Valentine. Specifically, Carousels have been listening to My Bloody Valentine. They've got that fuzzy, shoegazey, frayed-at-the-edges indie sound sorted; they've got those wafty, indistinct female vocals drifting through the racket. They've even got an interlude of earsplitting noise, just like MBV. And they do it well, there's no doubt about that. But there's also no doubt that it's all already been done.

Last time we saw Savages, they were holding down a support slot at this very venue. Well, here they are again. Same place, same position on the bill. That might seem like nothing much has changed for the band in the few months between that gig and this. But in fact plenty has changed - as the seething crush of bodies down the front neatly illustrates.

Somehow, in a matter of months, Savages have gone from being a promising, if rather obscure, new band more famous for the members' other activities (Savages contain members of John and Jehn and the Partly Faithful) than anything of their own, to being top new contenders. All of a sudden, they're stars.

I suspect it's no coincidence that the band's sudden elevation has been accompanied by a flurry of media attention - even the Daily Telegraph, that well-known source of all that is cutting edge in rock 'n' roll, ran a feature. Savages, it seems, have got themselves a PR agent. He's been pulling out all the stops, and his efforts have certainly pulled in the punters.

Carousels / Savages

It's difficult not to feel a twinge of cynicism, looking over the crush of instant Savages fans at the front. Are all those people here because they really like Savages, or simply because the media has told them they should like Savages? Are they here because they genuinely dig the band's dark swirl of guitar, the clear, riding-the-storm vocals, and the pound and pummel of the bass and drums? Or just because Savages are the new band they know about?

For sure, Savages make a fine racket, all crepuscular angst and impressionistic guitar-noise, vocals sweeping over the top like seagulls over a restless ocean. But there's no shortage of other bands - good bands - in this broad musical area. Why should Savages suddenly zoom ahead of the pack? It might not all be due to their industry partners giving them a bunk-up, but, c'mon, it's got to be a pretty major factor.

It's interesting to note that the crush of bodies down the front thins out somewhat as O. Children prepare to take the stage. That in itself lends weight to my theory that a sizeable chunk of the instant Savages barmy army is here essentially because the media has told them to turn up. O. Children have been through the new big thing media frenzy, and come out the other side. Now, with their second album on release, the real work begins.

O. ChildrenTonight O. Children play that new album, Apnea, in its entirety - a brave move for a band which has a good few crowd-pleasers in its repertoire. But tonight there's no 'Dead Disco Dancer', no 'Ruins'.

Instead, there's a full set of new stuff, which, it must be said, doesn't deviate overmuch from the now-established O.Children sound. The band still specialises in rich, dense, twilit anthems, with Tobi O'Kandi's down-in-the-basement vocals rolling over the music like a deep-pile carpet laid over mellow varnished floorboards.

It's an effective formula, and if the overall sound sometimes gets a little too smooth for comfort - the ballad 'I Know You Love Me' in partcular is a glossy croon - the band do have at least one new barnstormer for us. The punchy, thumping groove of 'PT Cruiser' is a mighty thing, a cross between Nick Cave at his most showboating and Killing Joke at their most dubby-funky. Now if O. Children did a whole album of this stuff, I'd be their biggest fan. As it is, when it comes to the newies, I'm a medium-sized fan. O. Children remain impeccably cool, but don't smooth it out too much, chaps.


O. Children: Website | MySpace | Facebook

Savages: Website | Facebook

Carousels: Website | Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find the bands by name here.

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