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My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

New Young Pony Club @ Birmingham Academy 3 – Tuesday March 16 – review

New Young Pony Club

If it was nu-rave that loosely defined New Young Pony Club in 2007, Tuesday night’s gig at Birmingham’s Academy 3 packaged them up into a totally different box – a box from which they are producing music that is streets ahead of the easily consumed, image-conscious, indie electronica of their former counterparts.

They may have experienced a twinge of disappointment at the relatively low turnout. Perhaps word hadn’t filtered through to the Midlanders that NYPC had thrown off their shackles to transform into a seriously good, dark, funky electronic band with a 70s/80s post-punk bias.

First support, T3eth’s brand of disinterested techno Apple Mac infused indie did everything it could to damage the precious aural functions. Is Tropical favoured considerably better with a sound akin to Passion Pit without the rose-tinted spectacled view on life.

NYPC cleverly opened their set with latest single, Chaos – a song perfect to bridge their old sound with the new. Instantly, Tahita Bulmer’s stage persona gave warmth to her matter of fact semi-spoken lyrics.  This also benefited Fantastic Playroom’s Get Lucky and Ice Cream, making them appear less aloof than on record.

Hiding on the Staircase, The Bomb and Tight Fit were also served up from the debut. Live, they had a new sincerity and edginess but Tight Fit (and possibly The Get Go), with its glorious hook over synth loop would probably be the sole protagonist from the debut with enough quality to make The Optimist’s final cut.

It was NYPC’s new material which catalysed their audience’s reaction. Familiarity may have made the feet start to shuffle but it was The Optimist and Lost A Girl which suddenly made the band seem vital.  Without the double entendres, the songs have a new honesty and depth of feeling  and the New Order riffs, haunting harmonies, stop-start dancefloor rhythms and dead-pan Elastica delivery finally do the fivesome’s talents justice.

We Want To and Dolls were also deeply inhaled, but, as on the album, it was Stone’s pulsating keyboards, break beats and the wistful delivery of, “You’re stone, that’s what you are” that stunned.

The Get Go was probably the encore people hoped for, but it was the new material which endured in memory.

There is no doubt Tahita Bulmer is an engaging and assertive frontwoman who NYPC desperately need. On the night, her eagerness to involve the crowd softened her edgy asymmetric blonde haircut and fitted gold dress, which on their own may have encouraged judgement on her potential aloofness.

The ‘nu-rave’ NYPC of 2007 would have been shaken by the subdued crowd before them at the start of this gig. Thankfully through, the 2010 NYPC have a new and deeply rooted confidence in the quality of their darker, broodier brand of electronic funk, which saw them pull a rabbit out of the hat by transforming a static crowd to a dancing mass.

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