Growing up in public

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Indy Lifestyle Online
"Everything was happening so quickly around us. Record companies were coming along to see us play and the press were getting interested, but we had only known each other two months." Nick, the guitarist from the Pecadiloes, can quite clearly remember the band's transformation from fresh-faced Bedford-dwellling innocents into a lean, make-up smeared, cool pop machine - because it wasn't really all that long ago.

Such is the frenzied state of the pop industry nowadays, the band barely had time to shuffle through a few dodgy gigs in the winter of 1996 before they were up to their elbows wading through A&R men and record company lawyers waving contracts for them to sign away their teenage lives.

They saw sense enough to tuck themselves away and write songs from spring to June last year; the resulting music was a stampede through an encyclopedic range of influences, spiked with The Pecadiloes' very own twisted lyrical humour and sparkling potential. Then followed slots at the Phoenix and Reading Festivals, at which they were heartened to see seasoned rock gods losing their composure backstage in terrible states of pre-gig nerves. Autumn was swallowed up by a tour with big beaters Lo- Fidelity Allstars and a retreat to leafy Leatherhead for five months, to record their debut album. It was then that the band - hey! - actually had time to get to know each other properly, focus on the music and ensure their own sexy personalities shone through.

Main Pecadiloe characteristics are juddering basslines, keyboard woo- wooings in a theremin-style, and sharply observed storytelling. For instance, there's "Blood Orange", a love-and-hate look at cocaine. As Nick explains: "Me and Elliot [the bassist/vocalist] both wrote bits of it, and both have opinions on the subject, and are being sarcastic towards each other. Being in the music industry, it does become a part of your surroundings - it's a heavy thing to happen to you at 19 years old."

Personal experiences also fed into other songs, like "Cry": "There were bereavements involving family and friends. The idea was what it's like seeing somebody's life slip away in front of you. And 'Kirstens Beach' - Elliot and his girlfriend went to Brighton. They had taken something, and when a seagull flew in front of them, she flipped and ran off. Six hours later, he eventually found her on the beach."

Along with an increasing clarity of approach, it is this lyrical mix of reality and fantasy which gives Pecadiloes songs an edge. They may still be very young, but while the spotlight is beating down on them, they're grabbing the moment.

As Nick says, "We're in a position where we're saying something to a lot of people. If you've got a voice and a way of getting it across, you might as well say something people can relate to."

Astoria 2, Charing Cross Road, WC2 (0171-434 0403) 15 Apr