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By Kapil Seshasayee
Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with a bit of creative borrowing. Robert Plant borrowed many a lyric from Howlinâ€™ Wolf and the phrase â€œFolsom Prison Bluesâ€ wasnâ€™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 Divisionâ€™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 Tutâ€™s Wah Wah Hut was â€œMachine Musicâ€, featuring interlocking, reverb-drenched guitar lines atop a rhythm section reminiscent of the Chameleons. Instantly noticeable were both guitaristsâ€™ commanding stage presence in comparison to that of the singerâ€™s, whose static and hesitant delivery made me wonder if the â€œstars shining above youâ€ really did â€œwhisper I love youâ€.
All questions of mine regarding the singerâ€™s authenticity were forgotten, however, when I noticed the guitarist to his right was attempting to ape Johnny Marrâ€™s equipment, hair and even stage posturing, leading me to believe that heâ€™d perhaps watched the video to â€œWhat Difference Does It Make?â€ one time too many. Their chequered shirts and 80s haircuts didnâ€™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 â€œSurfacingâ€, 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 â€œPaper thinâ€, 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 isnâ€™t a summer holiday but a time machine.