Kira/Eskimo Disco, Metro, London

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The Independent Culture

It's hard to make an impression when you're first on at Metro, the basement venue that showcases new talent, but the Danish singer Kira does just that. Launching into the brooding "Save Me", she grabs the audience's attention right away.

With her high cheekbones and dark hair, Kira Skov – her full name – oozes sex appeal. She's more feral than kittenish, though, and straps an electric guitar on for "Pressure", which combines the best elements of the Velvet Underground, The Cramps, Echo & The Bunnymen and PJ Harvey. When she yearningly sings "I've been waiting for you" in "Skating Your Pool", there is a simmering, bewitching intensity about her delivery.

"Skating Your Pool" is Kira's debut UK release for Brown Punk, the label launched by Tricky with the help of Chris Blackwell. It's easy to see why they have compared her soul punk sound to Janis Joplin (though someone with a more encyclopaedic knowledge may mention Gayle McCormick of Smith, the late Sixties American band whose take on "Baby It's You" has recently been included by Quentin Tarantino on the Death Proof soundtrack). Mind you, The White Stripes are never far from anyone's mind.

"Losing You", Kira's signature tune with The Kindred Spirits, her previous band, wows the Danish expats, but it's her voodoo-like rendition of "Make a Man" that sticks in the mind. It's on a par with Tina Turner's Acid Queen in Tommy. The amazing thing about Kira is that, unlike so many current acts, she lives up to these comparisons.

By contrast, electro synth rockers Eskimo Disco, who follow Kira, are the bastard children of the early Eighties I'm glad I never had. The London trio use bass, drums and keyboards to take us back to the era of Visage and OMD, but their over-reliance on heavily vocodered vocals can be tiresome.

There's no denying the tongue-in-cheek enjoyment to be gained from infectious tracks like "Mission Control" and the single "Japanese Girl", but their ironic take on Europe's mid-Eighties hair-metal anthem "The Final Countdown" is a letdown. Still, I can see them going down a storm in universities across the land.

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