O Children / The Chapman Family/ John & Jehn at XOYO, London 23/03/11

O Children / The Chapman Family/ John & Jehn at XOYO, London 23/03/11

O Children
The Chapman Family
John & Jehn

Guitar music is currently going through one of those lulls it tends to go through before something new and exciting comes along, Arctic Monkeys are almost veterans now which makes it over five years since a new group made an impact with something genuinely exciting.
Since then there’s been an endless line of ineffective lazy bands all inexplicably receiving praise, The Macabees, The View, Mumford and Sons, The Script, dare I say the Razorlight word without a bit of sick appearing in my mouth? The latest of these are The Vaccines, having limp wrists doesn’t make you look artistic and wearing chinos is not a sign of high bohemia, The Vaccines have nothing to offer musically, all it shows is that even Gary from accounts and his weekend rock star buddies can pull the wool over people’s eyes with their indie posturing and it gets lapped up.

French act John & Jehn are a totally different proposition, fronted by the couple John & Jehn (their stage names), their chemistry is intoxicating; he the heavy lidded violator, her’ the innocent but fascinated victim, the music shoegazey indie with a great pop ear. Songs like ‘Ghosts’ and ‘And we run’ are undeniably great pieces of music which should be recognised as such by all.
North East four piece The Chapman Family are the opposite of the aforementioned bands where they could be accused of caring too much. Their songs are reminiscent of an angrier Editors, Interpol with extra spike with a lead singer who needs to calm down the angst, the raised eyebrows and eyes busting out of their sockets is off putting from what could be great indie rock music. During the last song after lots of fingers in the shape of guns are thrown towards the end he wraps the microphone wire round his neck and throws himself on the floor in a I’ve just been hung in the gallows motion. Quitting the amateur dramatics could be the making of a great band.

O.Children have proved that they can knock out a great tune and have the disaffected rock band look down to a t. Lead singer Tobias’ overbearing stage presence is rapidly blossoming from the timid almost apologetic swagger of a couple of years back to an intriguing mix of shyness and occasional flamboyance.

The band are also much improved and play with a new found confidence. ‘Malo’, a song they have struggled with in the past is now as anthemic as Echo & The Bunnymen were at the height of their pomp, ‘Fault line’ and ‘Radio waves’ faltered on record,  now they’re shiny nuggets of new wave. Another example of their progression is that they are now able to play their finest song ‘Heels’ live and a new song tonight has them heading towards a muscular sound almost hip hop in its structure. The band are moving forward at such a pace that ‘Dead Disco Dancer’, once their finest song is now so primitive sounding that they look embarrassed to play it and on this form, they’ll soon have a whole set of better songs demanding everyone’s attention.

Chris Todd

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O Children / The Chapman Family/ John & Jehn at XOYO, London 23/03/11