The Venus Kicks, Forms Forms Forms, Empty Vessels

Liam McGrady 07/03/2006

Britpop's dead isn't it? Died a horrible death by bad drugs, bad bands and more bad bands a while back now, I thought. The solo acoustic artist who opens tonight's P.O.L.E club obviously isn't in agreement. Covers of Doves' 'The Man Who Told Everything' and QOTSA's 'Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret' show that he's got a reasonable voice, but any original songs are unfortunately fairly bland and unmemorable. Good job then that the next two bands make their mark in some ways.

Empty Vessels are nicely eccentric and strangely timid at the same time. A weird mix of Bryan Ferry crooning from vocalist Matt and Talking Heads-esque art rock puts the band in the experimental pop bracket, where they seem to strive to be. The only downside to the minimal, edgy sounds is that Empty Vessels lack a certain projection; a cut and thrust to really grab the audience in a way that tonight's performance should. You sense that with a larger crowd to feed off however, this would come naturally.

Forms Forms Forms are not quite on form tonight. Sorry that's a crap sentence; but it's very true. New songs seem messy and confused where tracks such as 'Words (Don't) Sing' and 'Lessons' are focused and driven; like an effervescent, punchy Supergrass. And although the set is rife with tension due to this, an air of confidence surrounds the band; so much so that you know tonight is an anomaly. On top form, guitar pop doesn't get much better round these parts.

The Venus Kicks, like our guy who opens tonight, seem to look backwards more than forwards. The Tim Wheeler look-a-like frontman marshals the rest of the band into the mid 90's informed guitar anthems with little urgency; in fact the most active The Venus Kicks get is when they abruptly finish their set and start packing up. So, yeah, they sound a bit like Ash, and a bit like 3 Colours Red, but it's hard to muster any more words for a band who give so little from the stage.