Aerospace and HomescienceEdit this event
OK, that's it, I'm moving to Sweden. They've got a socialist monarchy, they've got Ikea and they've got Aerospace, five unfeasibly attractive blonds here to bring us snow and an Illustrated History of Jangle-Pop. And yes, I mean delightful, gorgeous, floppy-haired C86-style jangle-pop, not this Axis of Tweevil that has dominated British indie since the rise and fall of Bll* and Sb*st*n. There are 12-string guitars, keyboards that sound like harpsichords and fluidly chiming guitar lines that owe as much to Django Reinhardt as they do to Johnny Marr. The single, Debutante Love Affair is more of a Farfisa-fuelled 60's garage-pop affair, provoking the singer to protest "Oh no! We're turning into a wimpy Emo band... are we We-mo?" But as they swing into a Spanish-style rave-up, the audience bursts into spontaneous synchronised fringe-swinging, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Primal Scream wore frilly shirts and sang about flowers. Those of us in the cheap seats clap, everybody else rattles their Sarah Records badges.
After this, Homescience are rather disappointing, like a snotty teenage punk band stumbled in by accident. We-mo, indeed. The first couple of songs sound unfortunately like an Idlewild covers band trying to play The Beatles' Revolver. The singer switches to a Rhodes keyboard, and they sound like a snotty teenage punk band playing fairground music. And they sing in fake American accents. Just stop it, please? Really not my thing.
I admit; I was prejudiced against of Montreal before I saw them. It's those Elephant 6 people. So much of it sounds like 'psychedelic' music made by people too afraid to take acid, but who learned the style by rote from their dads' Nuggets compilations. Then again, musicians who take too much acid don't really attempt to re-record Pet Sounds, they're too busy locked in their rooms trying to sample their vacuum cleaner and record the sounds of carpet.
Of Montreal come on like The Nazz; their singer is even dressed in full-on Carnaby Street stripy trousers and floral shirt ensemble. They erupt into "Doing Nothing" with the roar of a mighty Entwistle bassline, as their guitarist (sporting the latest in garage band "Leg-Wound Chic") does a George Harrison impression that would put The Rutles to shame. Oh lord, they're raging Anglophiliacs, as they announce their pleasure in playing England, "The home of our biggest influences - The Beatles, The Kinks... Spinal Tap..."
So there's a sense of humour and a playfulness which utterly redeems their retro-fetishism; they jokingly refer to their keyboardist's clarinet as a "dork flute". Although they're the sort of people who would seriously proclaim "No, really, the first Status Quo album is great!" (actually it is -Ed.) they're more in line with the whimsical homage of the Dukes of Stratosphear than the perils of Oasis Weller Scene dad-rock. When they play the Rhodes, it's like The Zombies joining the Village Green Preservation Society on The Lefte Banke. Sure, their singer can't really sing, but then again, who cares? Neither could Ray Davies. The audience shimmy and frug like pin-striped hipster trousers and white belts and purple granny glasses never went out of style. (Have you been down Top Shop lately? -Ed.) Pop nugget follows sticky psychedelic pop nugget, culminating in a The Pink Floyd interstellar space-jam with AC-30s a-tremoloing and Electric Mistresses a-flanging and Mellotrons a-wibbling like the Electric Prunes demonstrating their Far-Out Sounds in the Vox showroom in 1966. You'd think they couldn't top that, but they return to the stage to play a freak-beat version of Brown Sugar like Brian Jones never left the Rolling Stones.
The real Carnaby Street may be a shopping mall now, but a little corner of far-out, flower-powered psychedelic swinging London lives on in Atlanta, Georgia. If you think The Clouds Have Groovy Faces, if Your Friend Jack Eats Sugar Lumps, if night falls with Dusk At Cubist Castle, if your dream job is being a Nanny In Manhattan, then strap on your Chelsea Boots and Run Don't Walk to your local Mr. Pharmacist and have him write you a prescription for Aldhils Arboretum, the latest groovy long-player from of Montreal. It's far out.