MEN - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

MEN - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Pifco (one girl, one boy, one unmanned synth) are very inspired by The Fall. Actually, that's putting it mildly. If you've ever heard an early Fall track, you know exactly what Pifco sound like: same yelping vocals, same rockabilly-via-punk guitar clang, same clattering drums. Just add in some low-level synth gurgling and you're there. This doesn't mean Pifco's songs are bad, of course, just unoriginal and with very little variety. Fellow Leeds band d'Astro do the same thing with more wit and flair and, of course, we still have the actual Fall to enjoy.

Cissy, on the other hand, are something slightly odd and very special. Mixing mutant disco kerfuffle, effervescing hi-life guitar, the obligatory bit of Neu! motorik and even a smattering of free jazz, their instrumental pieces constantly chop, change and surprise in a way that's playful and joyful rather than studious or laboured. They sound like Three Trapped Tigers playing Mardi Gras, which is, obviously, a wonderful thing.

JD Samson's possibly post-Le Tigre outfit, MEN, shuffle out wearing overalls in front of mural depicting lots of naked people. They almost look a little apologetic until they start playing and everything comes alive. New single 'Off Our Backs', previous single 'Credit Card Babie$' and the yearning 'Simultaneously' (dedicated by JD to "all the queer youth out there") already sound like modern pop classics. During a lull while Michael O'Neill replaces a string on his guitar, JD invites audience members to spot the butt-plug hidden in the mural. Live, JD is a better front-person than you might expect from her diminutive, slightly bookish demeanour. As she sings and raps her way through songs such as the shout-along 'Who Am I to Feel So Free?' she exudes a jittery energy which is riveting and somehow perfectly complements her college professor air. On the evidence of tonight, MEN's debut album, Talk About Body, will be one of the must-have releases of 2011.

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