Carling Academy / Liverpool
When the stage set up includes a cardboard cut-out of a large-breasted Deer in a fetching singlet, you know you’re in for something a bit different. Wirral’s The Seal Cub Clubbing Club are still relatively unknown, but have had an effect on all those who have heard.
The five smartly-dressed geeks that make up the band use relatively subtle and conventional instrumentation to surprisingly dramatic effect, using sounds to create not so much songs as moods. And though most of the time we’ve no idea what the fuck frontman Nik Glover is actually singing about, it is powerfully affecting. He uses his voice as an instrument in itself, shifting it with deft control from sustained wails to hip-hop spits, while the rest of the band work away vigorously with great skill and little ceremony to create a multi-dimensional musical drama. But not a po-faced, post-rock one, it’s a strangely fun and joyous experience and for all the prog there’s plenty of pop, perhaps best illustrated by recent single ‘World of Fashion’. As they shift from the bluesy weirdness to popping bleeps, there are undoubted elements of The Pixies and Radiohead buried in there, but they’ve already created many of their own layers over it.
From the first note to the last, the Seal Cubs sound is an uncanny and quite captivating force. It isn’t just a case of trickery or complexity, nor a catchy groove or sheer force of noise. Their music is quirky and experimental, yet at the same time an alarmingly simple collection of sounds and live, even if it doesn’t tickle your lugholes, it’s not something you can ignore. They are a band, a rare band that are making something different, and to these ears, something quite wonderful. To all those of you chasing your tails around East London looking for the next big thing, it might just end up coming from a scrap of land between Liverpool and Wales.
By Kenn Taylor