>In these recession-ridden times, hidden value – getting more than your bargained for – is about as good as it gets. This is especially true if you think that you’ve been diddled out of too much money in the first place. An example: when I went to see Pete and The Pirates last night, they had to prize the £9.50 out of my clammy hand. I paid it with half reluctance and half comfort – on one hand, nine pounds bloody fifty is a lot of money to see a band that hardly dents the Top 40, but then on the other hand, if that band is as good as P&TP, who cares?
They were, indeed, great. Lovely, charming, inventive tunes with lovely, charming, inventive lyrics. They reminded me a bit of James – not in their sound, but in their arty contrariness. But what made me totally forget all about the cost was the fact that their support band, Ex Lovers, were superb too. And so, in a fit of inevitable cunning, they are Today’s New Band.
Ex Lovers just work. There are so many bands that aren’t quite there – a good singer with a clunky band, or a great guitarist in a band that writes sub-Travis dirge. But Ex Lovers all fit together perfectly, like Stickle Bricks. And like Stickle Bricks, each bit of the band is different, and contributes something good to the whole. (No more dreadful toddler’s toy analogies, I promise.)
Their gentle songs have that great indie coyness that has been hitherto trampled over in the rush for ‘dancefloor’ staccato beats and choppy too-cool guitars. Listen to Just A Silhouette, and swoon to the dreamy vocals, snappy hooks and the way it drifts into the chorus. Then – more hidden value – bathe yourself in the total absence of pretentiousness.
There’s something softly defiant about Ex Lovers – all the songs sound like they are just about to dissolve nihilistically into warm fuzz. When I saw them last night, they were smart enough to only let that happen once or twice.
Ex Lovers play songs that do exactly what you were hoping they’d do, just when you were hoping it would happen. Thanks, Ex Lovers, for making that £9.50 seem like a bargain. Their songs are like soft electricity, a descripiton which I freely accept is the most pretentious phrase I have ever typed. But it fits. Listen to them here.