Salako | The Monarch, London

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The Independent Culture

Firmly in the tradition of bands with incongruous names, which in no way reflect their music (viz the distinctly geeky Hefner or the tepid girlband Atomic Kitten), the Hull trio Salako, presumably named after one-time England footballer, John, present a distinctly unathletic face to the world.

Performing in front of a ludicrous, yet strangely impressive backdrop more suited to one of the two extreme metal all-dayers taking place just down the road on the same day, their insanely twitchy eclecticism is simultaneously their greatest strength and weakness.

Signed to Jeepster records, home of cutie gods Belle and Sebastian, they're not a million miles apart in style, especially James Waudby's wavering vocals, yet they lack even the most unconscious swagger. Headlining today's ultra-indies bill, and following a somewhat hungover set from the hotly-tipped Butterflies of Love, their set flits from appalling "cup of tea with me" wimpery such as "DIY" to more interesting, dislocated pop such as "Musicality" and the seriously catchy "Run James", Waudby's tribute to himself.

The recent single "Hull City Tiger" - on record somehow reminiscent of the whimsy of Gorky's - just sounds ropy tonight, but their obvious love of, and theft from, primary Sixties sources makes them more interesting than many of their peers. Given to recording ridiculous amounts of material at their East Riding bedroom base, it's no surprise that they should prove so wilfully inconsistent, but they clearly care enough about pop to persist. And if a song should prove disappointing, don't worry. There'll be another one along in two-and-a-half minutes' time. They'll never be stars, but that's hardly the point.