Another month ends, and another trio of bright young bands arrive with amps in tow for This is Music. First up is Edinburgh quartet Jesus H. Foxx (***), who break into a scratchy, melodic opener. The two Fender-wielding guitarists display a near telepathic understanding, though the rhythm occasionally lags behind this searing frontispiece. I’m 24 is a catchy track that captures the oft-neglected mid-twenties-life-crisis, before they slow it down on I Got the Sads Real Bad, on which the singer gets to indulge his inner Casablancas. Not quite The Strokes perhaps, but an undeniably good band.
Quite a buzz has attached itself to The Low Miffs (****), so it’s a surprise they’re not headlining tonight. Regardless of temporal hierarchy, they launch themselves into their set as if a record deal depends on it, and in Leo Condie they possess one of the most watchable, dynamic frontmen around. He shuffles into the audience, irritates his bass guitarist, flings his arms out Shirley Bassey-style and generally acts the Shakespearean fool. The rest of his troupe – including former Josef K guitarist Malcolm Ross – make a tightly-regimented, trebly racket that crashes through every style from no-wave to wartime cabaret. Set-closer ‘Also Sprach Shareholder’ extends into an introduce-the-band interlude and ends on a wonderful anti-climax. Energetic, witty, and confident; in these lad-rock-infested times they’re almost too talented.
Actual headliners and recent T-Break winners Chutes (***) take some time to reach top gear. Songs like Hours are polished but too one-dimensional to excite the neutrals in the audience. Matters improve with 4am, a stronger, more assured effort with echoes of Interpol. Chutes have a well-honed, stylish sound, but in the outlandish Low Miffs they had a hard act to follow. Of all three bands, ironically, it’s probably Chutes who are most likely to succeed.