Monday, January 28, 2008

Youthmovies @ Barden's Budoir 26/01/08

Twenty or so surprisingly well-dressed people are stood in the freezing cold next to a notice board that is the only indication that they are near a gig venue. Some have moustaches, most are unnervingly tall and there is not a hint of fluorescent paint anywhere. This is like no other gig in the East End of London I’ve ever been to and we’re early.

This is Youthmovies’ first gig since last November. They are just about to get involved in the NME-led math rock scene in a very big way. Foals, the current plaything of the magazine, were formed when the singer of Youthmovies left the Edmund Fitzgerald, to concentrate on the band I have come to see this evening.

I sit by where t-shirts are on sale and realise that it is the band themselves who are selling them. This band have been on the radar for about four years, they are signed to a major label and have a hotly tipped album due out in a matter of weeks. Fame, it seems, doesn’t occur to them.

“It’s just so nice to be playing in front of people” the singer awkwardly smiles, referring to their record company funded jaunts around the country to widen their appeal. Here they are in their element, with people who have come to see an off-beat, confusingly brilliant renditions of songs with such titles as ‘When We Won’t Have to Make the Freezing Scene no More’ and ‘Soandso and Soandso’.

They make no apology for treading the line between genius and pretension with each crescendo – with each seven minute song and with each improbable change of time-signature. This is because they still write songs, and good songs at that. Some might even call them pop records but none of those people were in the crowd this evening, or even know who Youthmovies are at the moment.

They are the sort of band who only released 1,000 copies of their first E.P. and refused to re-release it in the same format, even after it sold out. They are the sort of band who are supported by a seven piece string orchestra who only played one song in their twenty minute set. They are the sort of band who take the crowd with them, and never ever let go.

The crowd of around 250 roared their approval to single The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor, due out next month, described as not so much a single but just as their shortest and therefore the most manageable according to the record company. This band is musically astounding. Sometimes the lyrics get lost in a flash of intricate guitar work that is impossible to dance to but if you actually listen, there is a vulnerability there. This despite the throwing around of distortion pedals and the banging of synths.

Everything about the evening was magical. From the silver wallpaper to concertos, This was like no other gig I’ve ever been to and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

The single: The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor is released on 3 March
The album: Good Nature is released on 17 March

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