This was a great chance to catch bands that have produced two of the better releases from Brighton outfits so far this year. Prince Vaseline’s A Naturally Coloured Pleasure is a clever psych-pop affair that manages to tie different eras and places together with a seamless ease, somehow connecting John Fogarty, Lou Reed, Canterbury Folk and krautrock without feeling like a concerted effort to be kooky. Clowwns’s The Artful Execution of Macho Bimbo similarly uses a broad palette of influence to create some righteous rock music, channelling The Cramps and Franz Ferdinand, and had deservedly caught the attention of The Quietus in its week of release.
Perhaps they more accurately suit the mood of a sunny July night with their mostly laid back sounds, but it is the support act who marginally edge it. Max Erle’s baritone croon made so much sense alongside the moog drone of Eleanor Whittle’s electronics. A few moments stick out – ‘Radio On’ is a remarkably easy song to like, coming across like a more chilled version of the Velvets ‘What Goes On’, it’s one that will be near the top of this writer’s list come the end of the year. New song ‘Mr Natural’ repeated the trick with the aid of some fantastic guitar solo/moog interplay and a vocal that reminds us a little of Joe Strummer. They also do a fine line in set ending psych-rock wig outs. A remarkably accomplished band who impress by how easy they make it look.
After a brief acoustic guitar and vocal intro Clowwns burst into album opener ‘She Says I’m A Clown’ and it becomes apparent that the pace has changed. Clowwns are an absolute ball of energy, drummer Damo Waters is a blur of activity while vocalist Miles Heathfield and guitarist Andrew Claridge vie for attention up front. In the main, the rush of energy was suited to their sound. ‘ Love Vigilante’ sounded like Gossip’s ‘Standing In The Way of Control’ re-imagined by Franz Ferdinand, while standout ‘Looking For A Fool’ is in some beautiful territory between The Birthday Party and The Cramps. They bring to mind early gigs of British Sea Power or 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster; they’ve built an impressive local audience for a band on their first album, they’ve undoubtedly got some fantastic songs and received some fantastic early press. It remains to be seen if they get the little bit of luck that will see the rest of the nation take notice.