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Lola Colt
Ballet SchoolBallet School

The Lexington, London
Tuesday March 12 2013



I quite like the Cocteau Twins, me. But I don't like them half as much as Ballet School do.

Tonight's opening band are evidently such fans of the Cocteau Twins that they want to be the Cocteau Twins. Listen to them - a convolution of of a vocal, all swoops and uulations, backed by a big stompy beat and a swirl of guitar. Very early Cocteaus, that.

As it happens I'm a particular fan of that early Cocteaus sound, before they eased off on the stompiness and came over all coffee-table. A touch of that influence would not be a bad thing in a band of today, I reckon. But Ballet School ladle it on like thick custard, until you can barely discern anything of the band's own identity.

At intervals the singer jumps and twirls and throws unexpected shapes, as if the pep pills are randomly kicking in - antics which sit rather oddly with the sinuous ebb and flow of the music. Perhaps these almost-ballet moves are the origin of the band name. Dunno about that. But I do know where Ballet School take their primary influence from, because the band make it just a bit too clear for comfort.

Lola Colt arrive mob-handed. Six of people and 'nuff hardware, which is enough to crowd out the Lexy's stage to the point where nobody's got much room to move. But then I don't think Lola Colt would move much even if they were on stage at the Enormodome. They exude the studious, downbeat air of Serious Musicians. Their music is a kind of all-purpose mid-tempo pre-punk rock - kinda bluesey, kinda Stonesey, more than a bit Jefferson Airplane.

Lola Colt

The arrangements are densely packed with instrumentation. Not a nano-second is allowed to pass without a percussion fill or some meticulous shading of guitar, some judicious keyboards or a layer of backing vocals. It's impressive, if watching musos do their muso thing is your thing.

But I come at music from the punk rock direction. For me, the idea is always more important than the execution. And while Lola Colt are clearly jolly good at the execution, their only idea seems to be to play...well, kinda bluesey, kinda Stonesey, Jefferson Airplane-ish mid tempo rock.

VuvuvulturesFortunately for all of us, Vuvuvultures have both the ideas and the execution suited, booted and sorted.

That's why, in the matter of months theyve been playing the London circuit, they've scrabbled up to the headline spot. You can either do this stuff or you can't, folks, and Vuvuvultures certainly can.

They've got a good look - they're like the interestingly cool kids at school who you were always a little reluctant to talk to, but once you'd plucked up courage you found they were good eggs all along.

And they make a good noise, too, taut and fuzzy, just rough enough round the edges to give the racket a certain new wavey snap and crackle.

The bass sets up a groovily distorted bump 'n' grind, the guitar dances around its patch of distortion, and, on vocals, Harmony Boucher grabs the mic stand like it's the tiller of a boat and steers the good ship Vuvuvultures into choppy, poppy waters. And yes, for all their new wavey fuzz, Vuvuvultures are, essentially, a pop group. Their songs are naggingly accessible things, not least the new single, 'Stay Still' - the release of which is the hook upon which this gig is hung. The song is Vuvuvultures in a nutshell - a tumbling, poptastic rush layered over a fierce bass-growl, with Harmony's vocals striding over the top with impeccable sang-froid.

VuvuvulturesThe band push and shove the set to a finish, maintaining their offhand aplomb even though the mosh is moving and the atmosphere is hot. The crowd cheers the band offstage as if they're instant heroes. Good work, good eggs. A win for the interestingly cool kids, I reckon.

Vuvuvultures: Website | Facebook

Lola Colt: Website | Facebook

Ballet School: Website | Facebook

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

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