The Scala was filled with bands on Monday night and spurred on by a desire to see the mighty Architecture in Helsinki, we went to check them out. First up were The Wave Pictures- three local guys with a couple of guitars and a kit. Thoroughly affable chaps, all of them: the sort your Mum would like until you broke the unfortunate 'he's a drummer in a band…' news. Guitarist/vocalist Dave Tattersall easily warms up the room with cheeky chit-chat: quite in contrast to his yawling vocals which are reminiscent of Ian McCulloch or Brett Anderson.
Sadly, like the tenth spoonful of Weetabix, later songs in the set become drearily predictable. Solid musicianship all round is marred by an irritating habit of verse/chorus/verse/chorus/loud-and-uninspiring guitar solo; a sequence we like to refer to as A-B-A-B-owww! On the plus side their lyrics are sublime insanity: "Marmalade is marmalade and a statue is a statue. A statue of marmalade is a statute but it isn't marmalade." At first we're wondering if we heard it right, but we're soon crooning along with rest of the audience to these quiet words of genius. With their recent signing to Moshi Moshi they're definitely ones to watch.
Up next was Canadian Caribou, who before he and the band play the first note we had pegged as mild-mannered electronic indie folks. However the temptations of amp stacks and J-array speakers are clearly too much: the floor is pumping and the sound engineer is clearly in love with the drums and bass because that's all we can hear. Too bad there are two kits, meaning lyrics and keys are nearly inaudible in the battle of the cymbals, whilst the guitarists hang limply in the background. Nuance and texture there ain't.
Whilst Caribou are big on volume, AiH are big on personality: each of the six band members has their ego turned up to 11, keeping things interesting by effortlessly switching instruments and leaping around the stage looking like a giant polyphonic advert for skinny jeans.
Inspired performances including "Debbie" are tight, flawless and full of energy, but other songs at times feel flabby and eccentric, and when the band downs instruments for a cute 2-minute champagne break to the sound of "PM Dawn", the audience isn't entirely sure they've earned it. And if they have, they could've chosen a better interlude song.
Happily they end the show on a high note. Having confessed to being too old and jaded to bother with the traditional encore stage-shuffle they dive straight in to their finishing number; the ridiculously catchy "Heart it Races". Days later we're still singing "Boom dadadadadada boom dada dada".
Words by Dan Govan.