Wildly unfashionable

David Poe/Unbelievable Truth | Garage, London

Two talents currently drifting under the radar, Ohio singer-songwriter David Poe and embattled Oxford indie band Unbelievable Truth (the singer is Thom Yorke's brother, a fact few seem willing to get past), prove well-matched tonight, wildly unfashionable, but worth the packed crowd's supportive attention.

Two talents currently drifting under the radar, Ohio singer-songwriter David Poe and embattled Oxford indie band Unbelievable Truth (the singer is Thom Yorke's brother, a fact few seem willing to get past), prove well-matched tonight, wildly unfashionable, but worth the packed crowd's supportive attention.

Poe, at least, is only struggling to sell his self-titled début album, a work of subtle arrangements and artful word-play which has already gained key songwriting nods of approval: the collaboration of Elvis Costello producer T-Bone Burnett, and a Bob Dylan support slot. Live, he shows he's capable of more than the Adult-Oriented American ghetto this could doom him to. Good-humoured and good-looking, punching choruses home with his gravelly voice while his band switch from Spanish guitar strum to phased psychedelia to breezeblock beats in a single song, he puts the crowd in his hand. As he debunks recent overblown pop in the mordant "Deathwatch for a Living Legend" - "the century's giving its last gasp, we marked each super-genius as we passed" - the potential for his own breakthrough is clear.

Unbelievable Truth may already have had their moment in the sun. Circumstance has stolen much of their momentum. Here they were promoting their second album sorrythankyou, which was released last month but recorded two years ago and then locked in the vaults by their label, Virgin, who eventually dropped them despite first album Almost Here's decent success. The music press fixation on Andy Yorke's increasingly sanctified sibling has meanwhile overshadowed them (the brothers share a genetic disposition for high, mournful vocals and darkly introspective lyrics, but little else).

"Good evening. Where were you when we needed you ?" drummer Nigel Powell politely enquires of the crowd, by way of introducing "A Name". Though its lyrics - "history will praise you when you're lying in the ground" - are theoretically about anonymous war victims, its application to their own near-burial is clear. Yorke, meanwhile, looks bashful and uncomfortable for a front-man, taking a deep, tired breath at one point, as if he's struggling to survive. The sonic spareseness of his band's early efforts also lets attention waver, and it begins to seem as if their problems were self-inflicted - like they're just another indie band.

They grow inexorably in confidence and force, though, and when the crowd sing along to the buzzing jangle of the minor hit "Higher than Reason", and the band follow it with the gently ominous optimism of "Shed Your Skin", Yorke's almost apologetic, falsetto keening sounds right. The début single "Building" is next, greeted with joy by band loyalists, its speeding guitars and beats now surging under a slow, spaced voice. And then it's "Agony", with its passive-aggressive English chorus "sorry thank you" repeated over and over, emphasising how it defines this under-stated, under-valued band.

They return gratefully for genuine encores, soaking up their fan-base's rousing cheers. "Sometimes I think I want to go back again, to the place where we were left," Yorke sings. Perhaps they can.

'sorrythankyou' (Shifty Disco) and 'David Poe' (UlfTone) are out now

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