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The Cruel Sea packs an emotional depth-charge. At its last London gig, my boyfriend and I split up. 'The honeymoon is over baby/I'm gonna get this tattoo changed to another girl's name,' growled freelance frontman (his day job is as lead singer of rock behemoth Beasts of Bourbon) Tex Perkins over swampy, instrumentals, and I went home alone.

Having swept Australia like an angry tsunami, this rawk 'n' roll five-piece are set to sail into Britain. Afro-latin grooves, Hammond organ, blistering percussion and gently sinister vocals transcend the yobbish pub-rock stereotype.

Conceived in 1987 as a party band inspired by instrumentals of the Fifties and Sixties, The Cruel Sea has deliberately shunned the hype back home to gradually become the country's hottest property. Polydor hopes it'll do the same here.

'We don't go in for wiggling our asses,' says bassist Ken Gormley. 'We have a reputation for burning the place down live, and work on attraction rather than promotion.' With an album, The Honeymoon is Over, comfortably straddling both indie and mainstream markets, The Cruel Sea is surfing a Zeitgeist which demands a return to real playing values. Detractors may say it lacks irony, but its thirty something savoir faire is converting even hardened cynics.

The presence of Tex Perkins is undeniable. Nick Cave said this charismatic hipster stole all his best moves. Live, Perkins grunts, sighs and croons in syrup-laden baritone: 'I could be your whole world, baby,' and women hang from balconies like dazed lemmings.

Tex, about that tattoo. . .

The Honeymoon is Over is out on Red Eye (Polydor). The Cruel Sea plays The Grand, Clapham, on Monday 27 June

(Photograph omitted)

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