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- Chromatics »
Italians Do It Better (profile) can seemingly do no wrong since their_ After Dark_ label sampler – featuring the likes of Chromatics, Glass Candy and Farah – was released last year. Pitchfork loved it, the blogs loved it and subsequent releases have been feted as the second coming of Italo Disco. Even though it’s a sound that’s been flickering in and out of guitar embracing dance scenes since The Rapture first told us about a ‘House of Jealous Lovers’, the label’s post-disco cum Vangelis soundtrack ways has felt like a breath of fresh air, or at least a cool comedown, from the onslaught of bland rave brats clogging up recent Kitsuné compilations.
Yet for all the used bandwidth, most of us here have yet to witness an Italians Do It Better band in the flesh. Well tonight, all that changes as the Chromatics, one of the label’s flagship bands, make their UK debut in the sweaty confines of Brick Lane’s Café 1001.
Slotted in at midnight before a five-hour set by deep house specialists Ame, the space is crammed with a gurnining mass look for throbbing grooves not necessarily apparent in the Chromatics’ work. Other concerns include the possibility that the band prove themselves more a case of studio wizardry then a living breathing entity with all the requisite charms and flaws fully in tow.
So when I.D.I.B. svengali Johnny Jewel takes to the stage with his black clad cohorts - and frontwoman Ruth Radlet steps into the spotlight with the poise of a replicant Nico - a sigh of relief is felt as they let loose with an inspired precision that walks a fine line between cool as fuck indifference and arms in the air exhilaration.
It’s a difficult balancing act to pull off, but the band do it in style as they run through early standouts like ‘In the City’ _and highlights from their Night Drive LP. _‘Healers’ _showcases a glam rock stomp not evident on record, while title track ‘Night Drive’ successfully carries off its early ‘80s Moroder meets _Suspiria vibe without a tongue in cheek or raised eyebrow insight.
What we do see is a band completely enthralled with their art. They don’t play to the audience with a desperate need for our affections; instead they invite us all to join their party. It’s that very same exuberance that transforms their closing version of Kate Bush’s_ ‘Running up the Hill’ _from a tasteful cover into an anthemic manifesto, boldly declaring their intent to take the best of the past and come up with something so familiar yet so new that it’s difficult not to fall in love with it.
The start of something special? It just might be.
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