My fondest memory of this band is sitting on the pavement on The Strand, in the middle of winter, waiting for a night bus at some ungodly hour, with a boy who I had a massive teenage crush on. Warmed by a concoction of gin and flirting we entertained ourselves by sharing my headphones and listening to Precious Time, About Your Dress and O.A.V.I.P.
Their music always takes me back to that ridiculous feeling of young, stupid love and somersaulting stomachs and feeling all the theme park excitement of adventures of the heart when you’re careless and naïve of the perils that unrequited love can bring.
Needless to say I was extraordinarily excited that they were travelling to my new city for the first time. Adding to the palpitations were the joyful words “I’ll buy you tickets” uttered by my rather cool boss. Hearing their new album Given To The Wild for the first time I was initially dubious.
Gone was the alco-pop, sugar-coated, technicolour sound I had grown to associate them with from their initial offerings from Colour It In and Wall of Arms. In its place was something mellower, deeper and resonant. I can only equate the shift to have developed like heartstrings that have been tried and tested and which are now more resilient and enter more cautiously into amorous affairs.
The band lead the gig with the intro to Given To The Wild and softly spoken, Orlando with his distinctive South London twang thanks us for being there before delivering faultless performances of Child, and a big song off the new album, Feel To Follow (below).
I wanted to see how the crowd would react to some of the back catalogue and was delighted when I found them singing along as I did to First Love and X-Ray, as well as letting loose to Can You Give It. One of the bigger songs of the night was of course Pelican – a throw back to their old sound and an immensely fun tune.
We were treated for the encore to Go, a song they were playing live for the first time, followed by Precious Time, and aptly at the end, the last track off the album Grew Up At Midnight. It was wonderful to see that the London/Brighton boys had a strong following down here and I was amazed that it took them so long to make the journey.
Well worth the wait.