George Bass 28/07/2007

No smoke, free bolly and a greenscreen slideshow of cityscape wide-angles may sound like the pulling kit for your average metrosexual trawlerman, but in the bowels of Great Portland Street's Albany venue, indie act Kelman are putting together an entirely different kettle of fish. Marking the release of their double A-side 'Is This How It Ends? / Postcards' with a free knees-up and forty minute live spot, Wayne Gooderham and chums take the soft-nosed ballistics of last year's 'Loneliness Has Kept Us Alive' LP, strip it down, buff it up and present it like a forecourt full of classic cars with an overnight nitrous conversion. Gooderham's lyrics steadily pick apart the portentous instances in young adult life -- pre-hangover resolutions, post-legover hatred -- while brother Marc and mucker Paul Ragsdale's respective percussion and synths slide around the frontman's guitar as smoothly as molecules in a liquid.

Bookending their set with a couple of blistering instrumentals (the latter of which features some bicycle-kick strumming you could use to concuss Popeye), Kelman showcase a balance of live favourites, album tracks and new material, keeping the audience on the boil tunewise while Gooderham Major muses on the sootier side of the human condition. 'Kicking Cans All The Way Home'> helps sell a couple of pin-badges to the Belle & Sebastian stragglers, but it's on the more earnest songs like 'Fucked And Far From Home' where the band really take flight. 'So lets have one more drink/Before we stagger slowly to our feet/And maybe we'll go on dancing/Or maybe we should think about sleep' proposes young Wayne at one point, which, in the pre-worn bustle of LDN grime, feels as fresh and green as The Incredible Hulk's carbon footprint.

When the slideshow winds down and they call it a night, there's a steady migration of punters to the CD stall while the brothers themselves move behind mixers to start their Club Uptight night, where the flipside of nineties/noughties pop gets even the strayest of sheep up onto the touchlines of the dancefloor. The free booze might've long since disappeared, but by the look of things, sleep is the last thing on the mind of anyone here.

Is This How It Ends? / Postcards is available on Liner Records from August 13th