Live Review: Chapel Club Glasgow King Tuts, 12th Feb 2010

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By Kapil Seshasayee

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of creative borrowing. Robert Plant borrowed many a lyric from Howlin’ Wolf and the phrase “Folsom Prison Blues” wasn’t even written by Johnny Cash. There is, however, something wrong with lifting the core of your main single from a hit song by the co-founders of your chosen genre.

London-based Indie five-piece ‘Chapel Club’ thought it apt to hide the main guitar riff from Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ under a Morrisey-tinged vocal melody and reverberated trem picking, both fairly major elements of the band’s sound. Prior to this derivative homage at their set at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut was “Machine Music”, featuring interlocking, reverb-drenched guitar lines atop a rhythm section reminiscent of the Chameleons. Instantly noticeable were both guitarists’ commanding stage presence in comparison to that of the singer’s, whose static and hesitant delivery made me wonder if the “stars shining above you” really did “whisper I love you”.

All questions of mine regarding the singer’s authenticity were forgotten, however, when I noticed the guitarist to his right was attempting to ape Johnny Marr’s equipment, hair and even stage posturing, leading me to believe that he’d perhaps watched the video to “What Difference Does It Make?” one time too many. Their chequered shirts and 80s haircuts didn’t so much impress me as make me wonder how they managed to avoid drowning in the bargain bin at Topman.

Midway through the set came “Surfacing”, the track of their’s I most enjoyed on their Myspace, with muted guitars and a constant drumbeat. Still waiting for the singer to look like he was enjoying himself even a little onstage, I waited through another 2 or 3 less distinctive numbers, seemingly there only to allow for the inclusion of long extinct synth patches now in demand thanks to La Poux. The set closed with the aptly titled “Paper thin”, a song with an intro somewhat less reminiscent of “This Charming Man” and more of a hyper-cheesy Cliff Richard single covered by Sonic Youth. What this band needs isn’t a summer holiday but a time machine.

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