Intra-band love is always a joy to behold. Ike and Tina. The Carpenters. The usual mechanics of musicians performing with each other is converted by the mind’s gossip-gland into a lusty, passionate romp-and-roll across the futon of musical possibilities.
Omer and Carole are in love. He stands and strums. She wiggles and sings and fingers the synth. Then they glance at one another. The laptop likes to watch. And later, after the show, we presume they go and make love, while listening to themselves on an iPod dock adorned with discarded undergarments.
And it’s good to see (I mean the first bit). They are both partial to a sincere wail of yearning. Hers is coquettish, with eyelash-fluttering pitch-bends as she writhes about. His is a growly shout, like a horny panther who’s waited too long. With a few costume-changes and a bit of a plot, you could easily make an opera out of this pair.
An alt-electro opera, that is. Influences are not hidden here. It’s an overt celebration of the dark furrows of the 80s synth-twiddling scene (think of early Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode), filtered through some more recent song-screwdriving a la dEUS or the Dresden Dolls. Each song develops artfully, with peaks and troughs on each spectrum. The gentle sultry singing over bowow basslines accumulates percussive taps, then hi-hats, then a catchy chorus, then synth arpeggios, things dropping in and out all over the shop. Their cover of Paul Young’s Stay For Good This Time (that’s right, Young Paul do a Paul Young song) is beautiful. They’ve changed the chorus melody into a sinister evocation of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and it works scarily well. Carole takes over for a lovely, bloody song called Mock Kiss, which has a Sneaker Pimps kind of hateful independence feel to it. Majore is a strange tune that grumbles and growls and eventually turns into a faintly-Ibiza dancefloor heave. There’s nothing background about any of this. It’s a work of communication, not just mood-providing. And some of it is really dry and intense – you’re either hypnotically staring into the abyss on a neuromantic vampire trip, or you’re a townie with a puzzled look on your face, muttering “eh?” and “what?” and “piss off!”.
What I really enjoyed about seeing Young Paul was that lack of compromise. They’ve found their darkly pop, crowd-dividing identity, they really mean it, and they’re sticking with it. Young Paul is a brilliant toxic shock of sci-fi future TOTP, delivered playfully and integrally by two young lovers. Surrender yourself.
You can see Young Paul for free at Zigfrid on Wed 8th April, or at The Legion on Wed 22nd. And you can hear their demos on the ol’ myspace.
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