When Will I Be Famous: The Pattern, The 45s, Jacob Golden

Steve Jelbert reviews tomorrow's bands today
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The Independent Culture

With just about any band of American chancers currently being acclaimed instantly as the next big thing, the crazed Bay Area quintet The Pattern must stand a good chance. Featuring ex-members of such notables as The Tide and the immortally tagged Nuisance, with their live performance they easily match the excitement of their excellent Immediately EP.

Even though the singer, Chris Appelgren, is soused enough to inspire doubts about his relationship with the melodies of their songs, he's a ball of fidgets, given to sucking his thumb and twitching, and compelling to watch. Luckily, his band are great, producing an apparently effortless wall of noise in the clumsy-soul tradition of MC5, the Stooges and, more recently, Rocket from the Crypt. They'll never be cute enough to pick up the plaudits that the more dapper Strokes have received, but one guitarist appears to have a tattoo of a martini glass, complete with olive, on his bicep. Can any of his compatriots match that?

The 45s, touchingly named after a medium that barely exists these days, have risen from the ashes of the one-time indie hopefuls Ruth. Though their amiable, crunchy pop is about as innovative as Toploader's, they have an outstanding guitarist in Ben Hales, while the singer, Matt Hales, exudes the fresh-faced optimism of a young music hack.

If you can cope with the concept of Muse struggling with the greatest hits of Joan Jett, you'll get the idea, but the 45s' Queen-style harmonies boast a sense of fun sadly lacking in Devon's biggest band. Their forthcoming single "Something Real" is hardly their best tune, outstripped by the Super Furries-style boogie of the dreadfully titled "Waiting for My Heart to Break" and the catchy closer "I Got to Tell Her". Radio 1 roadshows surely beckon.

Jacob Golden is another Californian, from Sacramento, though his sparse ballads couldn't be further from The Pattern's all-out attack. His recent eponymous mini-album is patchy, but sometimes bewilderingly lovely; this naked performance – just the man and his guitar, which at times becomes nothing more than a prop as he demonstrates his outrageously pure falsetto – defies the usual party atmosphere of the venue. Certainly, if most music implies a contract between performer and listener, the unusually shy Golden seems to be pleasing himself first. When he sings, "I don't want to be part of the outside world", while that world is drinking and chatting in the background, such solipsism can be seen as his very motivation.

On the other hand, he could just be playing up his sensitive singer-songwriter side to pick up girls, and what's wrong with that? Though there's hardly a shortage of new Jeff Buckleys, he's as good as any of them.

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