Gig review

The Sounds / Leatherettes

It`s a game of two halves tonight` Dundee duo Leatherettes play sleazy, Kills-like rock `n` roll to an empty floor, the audience hiding in the shadows. Live they are a frustrating proposition, half irritating, half brilliant. Like the anti-heroine of Richmal Compton`s Just William books, when they are good they are very, very good ` particularly on the genius set closer which recalls the Lounge Lizards seminal take on `Money`, with its clipped beats and laconic vocal delivery ` and, when they are bad they are very, very` well irritating really.

Headliners, Sweden`s The Sounds, on the other hand enthral a packed tight, enthusiastic crowd. On record they are a bit over-polished and mannered, live they sound vital, energised and spiky. With petite, feisty blonde singer Maja Ivarsson, dirty guitars, melodic keyboards and a driving rhythm section, songs like `Seven Days A Week` and `Living In America` take on a new life. They don`t sound particularly innovative but in front of a sweaty, enthusiastic audience they provide plenty of rough and ready pop thrills with a sound that recalls Blondie at their punky-poppy best. Step back to 1989 and they`d have been on the front cover of all the music weeklies with Melody Maker`s (R.I.P.) Chris Roberts wetting his pants over the latest blond(ie) sensations. It`s true, that on occasion the debut album, 2003`s Living In America strays into Transvision Vamp territory, but, live they make far more sense and tonight they are easily my favourite waste of time as a fun, thrilling band playing hook laden pop songs with energy and enthusiasm. Right place, wrong decade though but I guess that`s never bothered any one before! The release of their second album Dying To Say This To You in March should see them graduate to bigger stages and they`ve definitely got energy to burn and hooks a plenty for now.

Andy Wood