While their recorded work has a sunny ambience that draws you into a dreamworld of weird noises, their live show does the opposite. The band's static, heads-down demeanour and studied, vocal-free sound made the show feel more like an academic exercise and presence of similarly nerdy characters in the audience simply compounded the feeling that we had accidentally crashed a seminar on the avant-garde. Dislocated sampling, flashes of Eighties synth pop and upbeat rhythms occasionally bolstered their atmospherics, giving them a more exotic flavour. But on the whole, the show remained dispiritingly dry.
What ex-Kenickie members Emmy-Kate Montrose and Marie du Santiago were doing playing in the cupboard-under-the-stairs that is Camden's Monarch is anybody's guess. Their new band, Rosita - a moniker which makes them sound more cheesy swingbeat than indie pop - could easily have filled a larger venue down the road. But the ramshackle nature of their set suggested that they weren't sure what they were doing either. "I think that went quite well, don't you?" said Du Santiago, eyeing the audience nervously, while Montrose bellowed at the soundman to turn up her vocals.
Kenickie made a dramatic split on stage last October, blaming the rigours of the industry for their demise, though after six months Montrose and du Santiago now claim to be eager to reimmerse themselves in music.
After a few bumpy openers where Montrose's vocals veered between wobbly and woefully out of tune, they gathered in pace and confidence. Their sound comprised high energy punk-pop and sing-a-long choruses that struck a fine balance between winsome melody and out-and out schlock. The male presence of a grizzled drummer and a stony-faced guitarist did nothing to dispel the band's girlish charm and it was the force of their personalities, particularly their level-headed cynicism, that won us over in the end. The fact that they could have filled a venue five times the size just made you like them even more.