New Young Pony Club, Astoria, London

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

When the Klaxons won this year's Mercury Music Prize, it was hailed as a breakthrough for Nu-rave. All the more remarkable when you consider that this is a movement that doesn't exist. Named by the Klaxons as a joke, but seized on by ironically glow-stick-wielding fans, it bore little relation to either rave's original pilled-up euphoria, or the band's own Pynchon-quoting, guitar-based ideas-rush.

What, then, of Nu-rave's lesser lights? When the Klaxons were joined on a supposedly genre-heralding tour earlier this year by CSS, New Young Pony Club were bottom of the bill. Their core duo, indie outsider Tahita Bulmer and burnt-out House-head Andy Spence, should have been Nu-rave incarnate. They just weren't very good.

Maybe, though, imaginary movements are more powerful than they appear. New Young Pony Club are headlining their own bill of eclectic hopefuls tonight. Singer Bulmer makes no pretence of poise, preferring brazen enthusiasm. This starts with her green glitter-top and glowing war-paint, and stretches down a body which moves like a series of dance crazes.

The icy synth-pulses and tribal mimes of "Hiding" summon up 1980s spirits from Talking Heads to Bananarama. Club co-founder Spence's guitar and giant Ukrainian bassist Igor Volk lay a base of tight white funk, while Lou Hayter on keyboards and drummer Sarah Jones drive the music on. Accomplishment is not the point here, though. Bulmer asking, "Are you feeling sexy?" before the oral-sex metaphors of "Ice Cream" is. As with CSS, this is indie music stripped of adolescent angst, and converted to dance's pure hedonism.

Tonight, it seems that New Young Pony Club are perhaps the only band in possession of a Nu-rave manifesto. A cover of rave classic "Pump Up the Jam" is as purely dance as "Descend" and "The Bomb", the Club songs that bracket it. When Hayter provides one of the majestic, Ecstasy-cresting keyboard lines on which rave was built, then twists it into something more Human League-like, the Club's strong, era-straddling foundations are clear.

If there is a movement here, it is happily uninterested in chart domination. Instead, New Young Pony Club offer more feminine pop principles, rejoicing in glamour and dancing: the sort of rave-up that never goes out of style.

Comments