The Cooper Temple Clause / Aereogramme
Newbury Corn Exchange
It was a refreshing sight to see a band not part of the nu-metal brigade or the skate-punk crew, (which is usually de rigueur at Salvage), headlining on Saturday night, as The Cooper Temple Clause took centre stage. The Reading band, whose diverse influences range from Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd to Massive Attack to Graham Coxon came to the Corn Exchange, one of the smallest venues on their UK tour after completing work on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut album 'See This Through & Leave'. After catching a quick word with Didz (bass), Tom (guitar) & Kieran (keyboards/synths) in the local tavern, we discovered that the band have finished the new album and will definitely be releasing it this year, most probably after their appearances at the Reading & Leeds festivals.
After second support band Kill City (a recent signing to former Creation records impresario Alan McGee's new Poptones label) dropped out, we were left with the sole delights of Glasgow's very own Aereogramme. From the same musical pedigree as the Delgadoes et al, Aereogramme's music careered around the Corn Exchange like a demented, schizophrenic giant. Think one minute Arab Strap or Elbow, the next brutal rock reminiscent of Amen or early Kill II This. Despite John Peel, Stephen Malkmus, (of Pavement fame) and the Coopers themselves reputedly being fans, 'Wood' and 'Fuel to Burn' were the only high points of their very mediocre set.
TCTC eventually came on stage at around 9.30pm and kicked off with 'A.I.M.' (NME's exclusive giveaway single) which began with an electronic rumble, Ben Gautrey's whispered vocals and a subtle guitar line before erupting into a pounding anthemic chorus. Forthcoming single 'Promises, Promises' was the first of the new material the band played, and like much of the other new stuff, the sound was undeniably the Coopers, but was delivered with much more urgency and more directly.
Crowd-pleasers 'Who Need Enemies', 'Let's Kill Music' and 'Film-Maker' went down well with the crowd, those who were familiar with the group singing along to every word. Other highlights included 'New Toys' which contained a killer chorus which calls to mind the Pixies or even Supergrass, 'The Same Mistakes' (experimental Radiohead fronted by Liam Gallagher) and the sublime, brutal electro-rock of 'Been Training Dogs'. However, the title of best song of the evening had to go to the electro-tinged ballad 'The Lake' which sounded truly amazing live, even better than on the record.
A frenzied 'Panzer Attack' signalled the end of the proceedings, and despite no encore, the gig must surely qualify as one of the best that Newbury has seen in recent years. Certainly, the bigger, bolder, sleeker, more confident Coopers may soon steel the crown from the likes of Radiohead, Air and Primal Scream in terms of innovation and musical vision. Part of TCTC's appeal is that their sound is so excruciatingly difficult to fit in to any genre; to say they are an experimental rock band just doesn't do them justice. Despite their claims, The Cooper Temple Clause aren't killing music. They're merely redefining music.