A couple of months ago, we wrenched open the doors of the Londonist Demo Dungeon and invited you keen musician types out there to fill our vaults with your tracks. If you missed that post, fret not - the Dungeon's still open for submissions (amongst other things). If you want to send us your demo for review, read this. We promise to be nice. Time now for the inaugral DD review...brace yourselves.
First to email us their new demo were London four-piece The Bright Lights (props to manager Jon for being quick off the mark).
According to their blog, the band seem to have been doing rather well of late, thanks to an unsigned music competition at Channel 4, and some exposure on XFM's Music: Response. All well and good. They also played at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes on Saturday, which earns them instant brownie points for having graced the same stage as the Pipettes.
The Bright Lights are Katie on vocals, Rachel on guitar and more vocals, Akan on bass, and Clare on drums. They describe themselves as punky, stroppy, indie hotties, which is pretty darn accurate, and cite Blondie and the Buzzcocks as influences. We'll give you Blondie, but we're not hearing Buzzcocks, sorry.
Katie's vocals are impressive - clear and strong like Monique of Save Ferris, but less nasal - and on the strength of their three-track MySpace demo, the band are very tight.
The first of these tracks is "Closed On Monday", which makes for apt post-Bank Holiday listening. Great "oooh-ahhh" backing vocals; very Lush. Personally, we'd re-think the rather sporadic crash symbol, but it's very well produced on the whole.
"This Is Mine" is a cracking little two-minute pop song, with eyelash-fluttering harmonies and choppy pace changes. Loving that wandering bassline, too.
You'd think being the only boy in the band would stifle bassist Akan. Not so. On "Suicide Smile", he carries his bassline proudly aloft over a bed of jaunty discordant guitars, the way Elastica used to. We're hearing strains of their "Car Song" in particular. After the snarl of the verses ("you flash your suicide smile and I go weak"), however, the chorus and middle-eight slowdown feel rather limp. That said, the song just about rediscovers its backbone in time to build to a sharp finish.
On the whole, this is a very nicely recorded demo, with a good selection of songs. The Demo Dungeonistas were loving your stroppy side, so more upbeat tracks like "This Is Mine" wouldn't go amiss. Keep up the good work.
See The Bright Lights live:
Lark in the Park, Islington - May 3rd.
G Lounge, Camden - May 25th.