Martin Grech, Mew, Antihero
Cambridge Boatrace, 24/09/2002
By Holly

I have to try and find words to do justice to Antihero's live set. I'm not sure I can. Adjectives kinda lack effect when it comes to explaining why something leaves you speechless, with a compulsive grin on your face and the adrenaline still coursing through you. Sample-shot rock played with a punk attitude, force and intensity - there's a righteousness and anger to the live set, and you mix all these together and something happens. and I just couldn't stop dancing. And there's no way to put your finger on exactly what it is that does that, there're a lot of bands that play good music and a lot of bands who play it with energy, and yet Antihero have something extra, an X-Factor which leaves most groups standing. The conviction, the venom, the
emotion, the sense that they mean every word they sing... go and see them.
Really, do it. Antihero are essential.
I'd never heard of Mew before, but I'll definitely be seeking out some of their stuff. Inter-galactic indie-pop being interfered with by the Powerpuff
girls(the vocals were fed through some sort of synthesiser to make them sound falsetto and inhuman). Most of their songs had that kinda epic,
soundscape-y thing going on where the music seems to create its own space but there was enough variety and weirdness to the music, mostly from effects and the vocals, to stop you phasing out, which is the effect that soundscape stuff usually has on me. They're the first band who I've seen use a behind-stage image screen in a small venue without it detracting from the band - and there were some nicely freaky images on there too: eyeless dolls, contorted cat heads on wires, crumbling mannequins... beautifully twisted. I
liked it.
Martin Grech, on the other hand. He's got a beautiful voice and his songs were very clever and. that was it. There was no soul to it, no heart or romance, he didn't talk to the audience at all. It was like watching an art exhibition, you felt totally divorced from the people on the stage. The songs range from acoustic numbers to Muse-tinted metal/rock, all played clinically and perfectly and all just sounding sterile. Most of the people in the room had come to see The Bloke That Did That Music From That Car Advert, and quite a few people left after that song. If I were in that situation I'd find it immensly depressing, but then all the songs sounded made-for-advertising anyway. It's all very contemporary and A Sound For Now, and it utterly lacks any sort of life-affirming quality. Very clever, very arty - but compared to the full-on onslaught of Antihero or the twisted playfulness of Mew it's hollow.