The spastically hype-happy British press has already compared this Merseyside sextet to far more famous Liverpudlians, but though the band's eponymously titled debut overran the UK last summer, here in the U.S. (where it was released on Columbia in March) the going has been slower. The disc kicks off with a two-note bass bounce that builds to a dervish whirl before manly harmonies determinedly repeat, "We'll set sail again / We're headin' for the Spanish Main." But these guys hardly chart a straight course--they can barely get from verse to chorus without dropping a random sax break in the middle of a guitar rave, cutting abruptly to a lo-fi disco parody, or switching the beat from ska to some kind of eastern European folk-dance thing. True to the buccaneer ethos, they steal most of their best ideas--often from 60s California psychedelia--and you get the sense they might be behaving so erratically to disguise a lack of originality. If so, well, it works. Though diffident by Britpop standards (sometimes he's just another element in the harmonies) front man James Skelly can be downright soulful when duty calls. And if it's Nuggets you be wantin', they'll do you better than whoever's hip on the U.S. garage circuit this week: "Dreaming of You," the single, sounds like a British Invasion group covering Holland-Dozier-Holland, complete with big beat and cute wah-ooos. Like the 60s kids everyone pretends to rip off these days, they seem like they'll do anything for a hit. If that's the case, lads, I've got two words for you: eye patches. It worked for Adam Ant. Wednesday, May 14, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mark Winkley.