As they said earlier to me over a pre-gig pint “we’re the most provincial of the provincial”. How many bands have lyrics about their mam doing the dishes?
A late one; sitting on the outside of the V11 (a boat that doubles up as venue, groovy bar for the discerning and growing (and sadly, worryingly well-groomed) Young, Professional From Roffa set and, in general, a very pleasant place to hang out on in Rotterdam’s Wijnhaven district) we feel the boat shudder as The Homesick do their sound check. It sounds like they’ve decided to mic anything to hand.
Now, we’d had a mad, mad week and the last thing we wanted to do was see a gig; but still, this was the Homesick, whose EP / Mini LP Twst Yr Wrsts is a fabulous thing; a mix of charming, spiky pop with a vicious self-belief and that sort of provincial, outsider view that never fails to capture Incendiary’s interest.
The first act, Dog Food… well, it’s ok and all their mates give them a lot of support, and that’s great; totally for it. But to be honest, apart from one or two moments where there are hints of Camper van Beethoven’s drolleries, there’s not much you can get captivated by. Plus they’re on for 40 minutes or so. There’s just not enough about this lot to play such long, meandering sets.
Luckily The Homesick keep things to the point; their songs are all about 2 minutes long and driven by a desire to make a point. They’re all about communicating; and they boast a brilliant way of taking the piss and ensuring we all have a good time. “Hi Rotterdam, we saw your Erasmus tower, it was big and really great, wow that Erasmus fella, he must have been some cool guy.” Further Orange Juice/Josef K jinks are provided by the bassist running up and down the small set of stairs behind the stage, leaning in a camp vaudeville manner, it’s classic Postcard, the way those Scot bands would threaten and provoke by being gauche and ill formed. And the bit when Elias screams “older” in Tonight We Dance to Johnny Cash is pure gold; he howks the word out, screeching in a cod hysterical way, which seems to be saying “why the fuck should I sing this in the way you think I should sing this?” It’s great. As they said earlier to me over a pre-gig pint “we’re the most provincial of the provincial”. How many bands have lyrics about their mam doing the dishes?
Music wise they throw all sorts of stuff into their stew. There’s no doubt in Incendiary’s mind they suck up any influence and then strain it through this provincial Fries sieve. Acting like hungry gluttons locked in Sainsbury’s meat counter overnight, they consume everything and anything and don’t really give a shit as to whether it’s required, or cool, or good, or not. Still, as long as there’s a strong hook and enough of a funky undercarriage to get people bopping along, who gives? This is guitar pop at its most basic, most essential. Here, on a quietly captivated V11, their sound suggests all sorts of guilt-free fun; their little world something the crowd wants to be a part of. They seem to have a sound that is grounded by (and bounces round) three pegs; one is mix of Pavement/Beck/Connan Mockasin slacker attitude, the second, a rumbling Mondays/Bunnnymen/football hoolie groove (which is fucking class) and the third, a prim but vicious, “Gabriel Ernest” guitar grind that could come from a host of classic guitar bands. It’s really brilliant pop.
Best is saved till last. Their C86 plod, Cut Your Hair, is treated like a broken toy would be by a spoilt kid; kicked about, laughed at, thrown aside. Which makes it even better... of course. Elias starts wandering around, doing this Syd-cum-Shaun thing, maybe a cherubic, nice take on Jim Reid’s onstage moping. Then there’s a lot of feedback and some surprise stop-start things that just make you wonder how unwittingly post-modern this lot are. Afterwards it’s time for more of V11’s excellent homebrew and the night train. For once Incendiary feels pretty good about staying up so bloody late. This lot could be the best thing out.