REVIEW gig SuperGlu The Monarch, Camden, London 08/06/2016

Sticky Winners

Appearances can be very deceiving. SuperGlu from Manningtree in Essex certainly like to present themselves as having more than a touch of the shambolic. Their lead singer Ben Brown literally couldn't take the position of apprentice rock star less seriously, pulling silly faces thoughout their set and rocking a pair of shorts rarely seen out of the context of a 1970's Scouting jamboree.

His bass playing comrade Krista meanwhile, delights in telling tonight's assembled punters that the previous time the four piece played this venue she'd thrown up outside after a nasty burrito disagreed with her insides.

All of which gains plenty of laughs, of course, but wouldn't cut the mustard if the band really were the rabble they pretend to be. In truth, they're a pretty lean and mean musical machine, breezing through ten or so songs with the kind of nonchalant confidence that makes some pretty complex manoeuvring seem not so much easy as entirely effortless.

Their current single 'Weekend' is an obvious highlight, bursting with muscular indie/punk infectiousness. while the three way harmonies and swapped vocal lines set them apart from 90's counterparts like Blur and Supergrass. As does the way they sneak in some interesting musical quirks - the odd extra beat or bar here and there - without hindering the catchiness and energy of what's occurring.

As well as 'Weekend', the unenlightened are also advised to check out previous single 'Diving Bell', 'Question' and 'Oil', which apparently delivers a damning critique of western neo-liberal expansionism with an exuberant chorus and bouncy drums. Jeremy Corbyn take note. But ultimately, for the full SuperGlu effect get down to one of their shows and encounter one of the most joyfully accomplished bands around first hand.

An honourable mention also goes to SuperGlu's warm up act Barricades, who are playing only their fourth ever gig but sound so compact and tight such a statistic seems impossible. The London duo's sound is a big, angry one, guitarist Jordan Dowling filling the sonic spectrum with the help of a sea of pedals while drummer Nicholas Mackay works overtime seemingly hitting all the drums all the time. There is screaming aplenty and riffs so heavy you worry for the safety of the Monarch's floorboards, but very little in the way of self-indulgent soloing. The utter grooviness of tracks like their closing pair, 'Tell It Like It Is' and 'Pipe Down', rules them out of being metal and place them somewhere satisfyingly free from the stylistic restrictions of genre. By the time they've done 44 shows they will surely rule the world.

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