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Bear Hands, gig review

Madame Jojo’s, London

It takes a doughty little band to weather a hype storm, and it’s the bouyancy of Bear Hands’ tunes that saved them. College pals of MGMT, 2008 saw this newborn group dragged into a big bag of Brooklyn also-rans by next big thing-hunters sniffing for psychedelic young men.

Not a great deal has been heard from them on these shores since, but new album ‘Distraction’ is worth another listen; its songs are irrepressibly vigorous.

Opener ‘Bone Digger’ has a sweet, tremulously tropical edge to its guitar, with a funky rhythmic hit and a rubbery bass, the whole reminiscent of pop Talking Heads. It’s a sound that should leave them in a lost file stamped SO TWO YEARS ago, but tunes always win through.

There’s a bald, conversational directness to Dylan Rau’s lyrics that grabs the attention too, as on the hammerng chorus of ‘Bad Friend’ (“but I still love you”) and ‘Agora’’s frank plea for healing in a relationship beset by phobias. ‘Giants’,all thick, glimmery organ, muscular bass and thrashy, Pixies-ish guitar rounds things off neatly with its triumphal chorus of “I am loving you more”. It’s a fun way to remember that fashion’s cruel’s cycles don’t always win.