POP& JAZZ With Angela Lewis
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The Independent Culture
Kenickie, 27 October Sheffield University; 28 Oct Cambridge Boat Race; 29 Oct London 100 Club; 30 Oct Manchester Hope & Grape

Plenty of teenage girls keep diaries, but Kenickie's Lauren Le Laverne's 1996 diary is more packed than the average 18-year-old's: "We signed to a label run by St Etienne's Bob Stanley... drank lots of rum and coke... did the major summer festivals and went down well... toured with unhinged Welsh punk types 60 Ft Dolls... drank even more... got hospitalised with a kidney infection... made the top 50 of the pop charts with `Punka'... passed my `A' Levels."

Sunderland's Kenickie are similar to Ash in some ways. With their first single two years ago, the joyously ramshackle "Catsuit City", they were up to their scuffed knees in the pop world before they'd got to grips with GCSE exams. Two years on, already notorious for their brash wit, wild thrift-shop glamour and prodigious appetite for fun, Kenickie are on the verge of TOTP-land with their forthcoming single "Millionaire Sweeper". Their most poised two-minute pop moment yet, it craftily borrows Phil Spector's drum sound from the Sixties hit "Be My Baby" for added effect. Like previous single "Punka", a certain sneering malice informs the lyrics. "Millionaire Sweeper" is about a girl I went to school with who had a baby when she was 15," Lauren explains. "I didn't have a falling out with her, I just didn't like her. She was a bitch and I'm sure she thought I was as well."

Kenickie are on the rise at a time when there is a strong surge of adolescent bands, such as Bis, Dweeb and Symposium, all wearing their influences a little too clearly. Kenickie are more adventurous than most, both as people and musically. Which means that live, they are too unpredictable to be boring. Anything could happen, especially if they've been at the rum and cokes. Says Lauren, "Smaller dates make me nervous, because people can get at you."