Friday, May 25, 2012

Artist Of The Day: The Neat

In my experience, the best thing that a support band can hope for is to make an impression on its audience, even if it's not an overwhelmingly positive one. Obviously being good helps, but even if a band is utterly dreadful the likelihood is that their name will stick around due to such provocation - which surely beats turning up, playing and being forgotten in an instant. The Neat clearly understand this, and as such seemingly approach every one of their opening slots with the sole aim of leaving a dent. The first time I saw them, back in 2010, I honestly didn't know what to make of it all. Whilst waiting for my beloved Frightened Rabbit, I was confronted by a quartet of oddballs from Hull, hellbent on making an unintelligible repetitious racket which could hardly have been further removed from the night's headliners. Did I love it? Did I hate it? I really had no idea. All I knew was that I found it hilarious.
It was nearly two years until I had my next encounter with The Neat. I'd had no trouble remembering the name, so when I discovered they were supporting Frankie & The Heartstrings I approached their performance with light-hearted enthusiasm, expecting another perversely comedic plunder. I wasn't to be disappointed, but as well as the anticipated amusement, I left having witnessed a truly engaging and memorable performance from a band I now realise carry more than their fair share of substance. I'm now completely obsessed with The Neat, and can't wait to catch them for a third, fourth and fifth time.

Anyway, now that you've heard my romantic story, I'm sure you'll be curious as to what they sound like. Recalling legends such as The Fall and Public Image Ltd, their music is a throwback to post-punk's late 70's/early 80's golden age and is both obvious and totally unashamed in its influences. Amidst a backdrop of frantic drums and choppy guitars, frontman Merrick 'Mez' Green represents their trump card. Sporadic and spastic in nature, his vocals provide the entertainment value that's so integral to the band's appeal, and add an unpredictable and novel edge which sets them well apart from hosts of other revivalists. It's a formula best sampled on past single 'In Youth Is Pleasure,' though in truth every song they've unveiled thus far in their brief existence has been a winner. I for one look forward to their next move...

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