Live review: Moloko Eve's Club, London

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The Independent Culture
"Sniverling [sic] little bunny/ Bouncing up and down/ Scummy little creature/ Run them out of town..." Despite the echo of its terrifying tango, Moloko's molten opening number, "Killa Bunnies", is impossible to watch from the end of a 30ft tailback winding forlornly down the chicane of this club's snaky entrance. Every other hiss from the stage is blotted by shrieks of fury from the excluded crowd until the heavies at the door are summarily stampeded. The band's name, Russian for milk, seems too innocuous to inspire such incendiary behaviour.

Purveyors of a contagious madness, Moloko are not at all innocuous. This Sheffield twosome - 23-year-old Roisin Murphy and former Cloud 9 acid- jazzer Mark Brydon, 34 - may weave an Alice In Wonderland charm into their sound, they may claim Moloko is their "dark child" gibbering nursery rhymes, but it's faux naivete. What they deliver is as deeply disturbing as a sexually precocious tot.

The pair met two years ago at a party, when Murphy sidled up to Brydon and crooned, "Do you like my tight sweater?" Brydon replied: "There's a tune in that", and, according to myth, they were recording it two hours later. On disc, their sound is a trippy mix layering P-funk, jungle, heavy dub and techno-pop upon which Murphy skitters her random word association. It's spooky, but the real thing is more alarming. Shaking her sleek Louise Brooks bob and gyrating like a severely misshapen paperclip, Murphy snarls like Freddy Krueger, purrs like Shirley Temple. Choosing and discarding personalities, she's a seductive Eartha Kitt selling slo-mo sleaze on "Dominoid". It's like jaunty Portishead, or deeply insurrectionist Deee- lite.

Hidden at the side of this Twin Peaks-style mayhem, Brydon can just be glimpsed concentrating on his keyboards, but when Murphy introduces the rest of the band - drummer and two dreadlocked guitarists - her voice assumes an upper-class drawl of zooming psychosis and it's impossible to decipher names. "Those crazy beats, those crazy beats," she chortles, shifting her rubber-clad hips and high on her own languid gobbledygook. Stalking amid the decorative scrum of plastic fruit and matted ivy round the stage, Murphy dips into the existential debate of "Where Is the What if the What is in Why?" and holds forth against slide guitar and samba- brushed drums for an android cover of Cole Porter's "It's Alright With Me". By the time the band depart the stage one by one, the audience is wailing like a bagful of kittens.

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