Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Scams - The Words
Bakers Vaults – Stockport - 12th Jan 2012

With Leaf Promotions holding a birthday party on Thursday night we took a trip out to Stockport to join in the celebrations.

From the off, Manchester indie rockers The Word give me the feeling they’ve been round the block more than once; a bit Black Rebel MC, a nod to the more talented Gallagher brother and for some reason a touch of James, but I can’t put my finger on why. Either way, they’re simply not prepared to follow current trends, what you see is what you get, take it or leave it. There is much to admire from such a steadfast approach, and when they play to their strengths it pretty much pays off.

Songs like the wistful ‘Truth & Faith’ (if a little too long) show their ability to craft melody and structure a song from humble beginnings to a near anthemic conclusion. Whilst the jaunty  ‘Head Over Heels’, a simple tale of a schoolyard crush, shows they’re prepared to dip just a toe into the frivolous pool of pop. It’s during these more reigned in moments where Steven Draper’s vocals are given enough room to breathe life and interest into a well trodden path.

The problems arise when they pick up the pace and plunge headlong into murky world of boys and guitars. There are exceptions, the Spikey ‘Fag’, for example, but in general there are simply too many stocking fillers, and in a 45 minute plus set I begin to drift and wonder if I've left the iron on. F*%k me, have I left the iron on!

Having made a quick call to check I hadn’t burnt the house down (I hadn’t by the way), it’s time for Leeds based indie poppers SCAMS.  

Ok, it’s a pub gig and the sound quality is not all that (let’s be honest, it rarely is), but either vocalist Andy Morgan is having an off night, or auto tune has been working overtime in the studio.  In fact, all vocal jiggery pokery attempted by the boys tonight is way, way off the mark in comparison to their recorded counterparts.

If you were looking for that lost melody the only place to hang your hat was on Jamie Mcneal’s deft guitar work, which cut a swath through the otherwise chaotic sound with ease (think, early Maccabbees, Vampire weekend et al). On more than one occasion I found myself thinking, ‘What the hell is this lad doing in this band?’

To their credit though, every song was delivered with the boundless enthusiasm you expect from four young guns trying to crash the NME party, but perhaps that was part of the problem. Who was it that said “Never let the song get in the way of a good show”? Hmmm.
By all accounts their gigs go down a storm in Germany where their label is based, and as I’ve previously alluded to, perhaps this was just a bad day at the office. However, on tonight’s showing at least, I’d have to say. Sie sind um sie zu begrüßen.

The Show was running really late for a school night, so we’re forced to miss final act The Lottery Winners. But have no fear folks, we already had other plans to catch up with the hotly tipped Leigh combo, and the results will be with you very soon.

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