Friday, 13 July 2012

Daytona Lights - The Imogen Styles - Live Review

The folks at Designer Magazine have put on some fine gigs in recent days and we managed to catch Daytona Lights and The Imogen Styles at Dry Bar and the Roadhouse respectively on what proved to be a busy weekend.

We didn’t set out to see Daytona Lights on Friday night, but a mixture of fortune and good timing meant being able to catch the majority of their set whilst in-between other gigs, and we’re glad we did.

As Dan Lawrence busies himself making the cramped stage his own he reminds us of a young Ricky Kaiser, punching air and fashioning a performance deserving a bigger stage to give it on. However that’s where similarities end as musically they bare little comparison.

If we’re looking  for reference points they’re reasonably hard to pin down, but if you’re old enough think  perhaps ‘Oblivious’ or ‘Walk Out to Winter’ by Aztec Camera, played by an early Maccabees. The multiple vocal harmonies are a delight and used to great effect throughout, and at their most punchy put us in mind of Dexys, that’s with his Midnight Runners not without.

So what does this all amount to? Well in short, it amounts to a band that play sharp and sassy indie guitar pop and in doing so deliver it with more than just a little style. When revered record producer Steve Levine has been seen helping you carry your gear, you know you must be doing something right.

So there you have it. We liked what we heard and shall be looking to catch the full set at the earliest possible opportunity and more importantly when we’re not so rushed.

As a final passing aside, we must be the only site in recent months to have reviewed the band without mentioning bloody Hollyoaks……………Ohhh bugger.

Unfortunately we miss the support acts on Saturday, arriving just in time for headliners The Imogen Styles, note to self; must be more punctual.

There’s much to admire about how The Imogen Styles go about their business. Without doubt they bring a certain panache to their brand of electro pop, including a strong sense of image, sexuality and real showman/womanship. The music is none too shabby either.

With influences all but tattooed, the likes of Human League, Pet Shop Boys and Heaven 17 are all present and correct. Although often with a dark under-belly there is no denying this is pop music. The problem with pop music is it lives and dies by its hooks, and whilst there are lyrical barbs a plenty on show tonight, at times I’m left wondering if the melodies are strong enough. I’m crying out for simple descants of, “Brother, sister, we don’t need that fascist groove thing”, or the addictive refrain of ‘It’s A Sin’ or ‘Love Action’. If given this I would sign up whole heartedly to the Styles manifesto and be happy to do so.

In Syma, The Imogen Styles have a sultry secret weapon; a femme fatale that used to her full potential could be devastating, in Styles, a natural frontman with a sense for the occasion. They have an eye for detail, and for two people and a laptop they know how to put on a show. Just give us the hooks and you may well be home and dry, something that this summer, is not to be scoffed at.

We at Eartwister will certainly be keeping a close eye on proceedings (or should that be ear) and will undoubtedly be going back for seconds. I bet they can almost taste it.

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