Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ladycop + Cats & Cats & Cats at Fishtank, Durham 10.10.10

With a guitarist who plays like Johnny Greenwood and a vocalist who sings in a high-pitched wail very close to Thom Yorke’s, NYC’s Ladycop owe a hell of a lot to a certain Oxford five piece. It’s because of this unoriginality in their sound that makes listening to Ladycop at times akin to being in a 90’s alt-rock time-warp. Whether it’s the R.E.M style melodies or the fact many of the songs seem to be trying to recreate Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘1979’, you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve heard it all before.

Granted, they are a decent live band and songs like ‘Julien’ or ‘I Felt Just Like Anybody Else’ are far more aggressive and structurally interesting than most of those on, say, Radiohead’s debut. But Radiohead went on to perfect that sound with ‘The Bends’ and ‘OK Computer’, leaving Ladycop not much else to improve on. And even when Ladycop incorporate some electronic bleeps into their atmospheric but emotional alt-rock, like on ‘Idea Maker’, they still end up imitating Radiohead. Except new Radiohead.

Dressed in garments even Noel Edmonds would turn his nose up at and with a lead singer wearing what appears to be a tea cosy, it’s safe to say Cats & Cats & Cats don’t take themselves too seriously. The band begin with bursts of power chords and intense drumming, the kind of noise that makes a band look better than they sound. Generally there’s a section in each song where they show how fast they can play a chord and then stop playing it, which gets tedious. When the lead vocalist shouts “I’m not a singer” in one of the songs, you have to agree with him.

However the obvious folk influence runs through some of their songs adds an interesting slant to their otherwise standard emo-tinged rock. ‘A Boy Called Haunts’ has a grandiose sweeping (albeit pre-recorded) violin with a melody that gives some individuality to the song. But the band tends to rely too much on their, admittedly, sharp sense of rhythm and this isn’t enough to give the songs any sort of lasting impression. These Cats may end up in a pillowcase at the bottom of a canal before not too long.

(P.S Don’t let this put you off going out to see bands in Durham- a lot of people loved the gig and there’s some good bands around here at the moment)

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