Live (The Duloks / Royal Treatment Plant / Red Letter Suits)
Call it a seven-year itch or something. Mira Manga Dulok (or however many ceremonial names she’s collected by now) was once the face of would-be Teen-C scene stealers Disco Pistol. I last encountered her at the Camden Falcon, radiant in ballgown and tiara (she didn’t look too bad herself). I was going to write a review of them; something like ‘The Kids are hot tonight!!! They sparkle! Glitterball sugarkiss razor disco’. Happily that particularly ripe piece of literary cheese never made it past my fevered imagination, but there was no doubt that Mira was a Pop Star – the world just had to catch up.
2006: Mira is now wearing knee socks and 80s sports gear, dressing as Hiawatha, whatever, and the Duloks are attracting attention. She’s still charismatic, but the appeal of this string of 90-second synth-punk comic turns quickly palls. OK, ‘Bad Vegetarian’ is quite funny, in a hit-over-the-head-with-a-pig’s-bladder sort of way, and ‘Gonna Follow Your Star/Trail’ is pretty decent, but really there’s nothing to see here beyond the costumes and the in-jokes.
My best recommendation is that if you don’t like one Duloks song there’ll be another one along in a minute, and you won’t like that either. They should have begun their name with ‘R’; it seems to work for everyone else here.
Royal Treatment Plant’s template of headrush guitars and icily sweet vocals always promised thrills, and it seems they’ve finally figured how to alchemise this into gold. New single ‘Carry Me’ is a dark psychedelic torrent.
Princess P is maturing into a bona fide stage goddess and there’s a fierce centrifugal energy about the whole set, with moonlighting keyboard player Tom adding another dimension. They’re giving their more experimental side its head, and it suits them – no longer bit-part players, RTP are ready for a starring role.
If you’ve made it this far down you’ve just won the star prize, as you’re about to be introduced to the surging beauty of Red Letter Suits. To write one instant classic like ‘Don’t Let The Sunshine Hurt Your Eyes’ would be good enough – to have also tossed out ‘Hanging On’, ‘Don’t Take Your Love Away’ and a raft of others just as good seems almost unfair.
It’s tempting to call them ‘Blondie without the boring bits’, but that wouldn’t do justice to their transcendent live performance, let alone their versatility. Slower, sadder moods and riffing garage filth are attempted and attained with equal ease and Angie Moulding is a singer in a million – raw and tender. If they don’t conquer the world, someone should declare a state of emergency.
Rebecca Mosley (see what I mean about the ‘R’s?) does pretty well in the early-evening graveyard slot. Harsh acoustic songs like ‘Morning Warning Chorus’ can suddenly soar into a state of unreal beauty.
Tom Parnell’s cello supplies sharp incidental notes, but also offers the possibilities of a wall of sound when meshing with Rebecca’s guitar. The only criticism is that her jagged lyrics often seem half-formed – everything else about her music is pretty inspired.
Written by McLaughlin on