Imperial Racing Club, The Nova Express, vinylreverb


vinylreverb open and their lineup is a standard 4-piece, though since the band are from Lanarkshire there IS a twist. This comes in the form of a trumpet. Set to the decidedly punk feel to most of the material, - singer Paul in particular is what you might term a 'lively' performer - the brass is a fair diversion, and let's face it, and one which could go a bit Chumbawumba. Fortuntely it works well and the brassy tunes are the best on show tonight.
The Nova Express also combine some non-standard instrumentation. Not the drumsticks, which even when used in conjunction wih guitar are pretty much standard issue in bands determined to somehow marry pop and noise. Indeed, the Express' lead guitarist is determined to bare-handed wring every possible drop of feedback out of his instrument while the bassist perhaps sensibly keeps out of the way at the back. But it's the semi-acoustic guitar which hides a multitude of sins - one moment forming the basis for a nice strummy pop tune, the next providing back-up cover fire to the sonic assault originating stage left. The creativity peaks with their closing number as a jaffa cake box is employed as an oversized plectrum (the distribution of the biscuits - or are they cakes? -to the needy audience is a fitting finale).

Imperial Racing Club are mercifully still Punk Rock. They've not been seen round these parts for a bit - they've been writing new material, and happily they have stuck to precisely the qualities that have given their reputation as the tightest most solid purveyors of 3-minute rock songs this side of Hadrians Wall. Hell,, make that the Atlantic.They're breaking in a new bassist and indeed he chips in with the 4-part harmonies too. The oldies, thanks to their catchiness, are best - 'Big Day Out' is wheeled out again and still sounds fresh, but the new stuff - a couple previewed here tonight - could gain the tag 'instant classic'.