It’s not often that JUICE gets in there first with international pop stars but while we were researching the Klaxons and Simian Mobile Disco last year we met Faley, guitarist of Late of the Pier in one of those forum-type places. As well as discussing some slightly less than legitimate SMD mixes of Klaxons tracks, this kind gentleman also directed us towards some demos and downloads of his own band.
Talk about challenging synth pop. It was like Roxy Music meeting Klaxons and going off on a detuned 12 hour jam. And to check it wasn’t just our ears, they’ve also been compared to the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (ask your dad), Siouxise and the Banshees and Gary Numan. And a pre-school singing nursery rhymes.
Vocalist Sam Eastgate rarely sounds anything less than deranged, and though his voice is more Devo than Bowie, he exudes the icy cool that gave Gary Numan and the Banshees their futuristic edge. Their vintage electro sound is the result of Eastgate’s father’s own 1980s synth pop dabblings and an archive of equipment that eBayers would skin their grandmas for.
Strangely snapped up by major label Parlophone (whose A&R must have had the wrong kind of mushrooms on his omelette that morning), once you get past all the angular art-pop stuff the band actually has a cracking way with synth tunes like ‘VW’ and ‘Space and the Woods’. In just a year, the four piece from the UK’s Midlands has gone from a school band (formed in 2004) to one of the London underground’s most talked about acts, with regular spots on (teen) club phenomenon Way Out West.
They’ve certainly got the friends. Second single ‘Bathroom Gurgle’ was produced by Death Disco legend (and world’s tallest DJ) Erol Alkan. Simian’s James Ford may or may not be involved in the production of LOTP’s debut album due out later this year (there have been rumours) and 2007 saw them play high profile support slots for Hadouken and Soulwax.
Although they’ve only produced two single releases, each limited to 500 copies, their tracks have been listened to more than half a million times online and in an Arctic Monkeys-inspired move the band were handing out free copies of the Zarcorp Demos, a collection of rough mixes and bedroom mixes, at gigs and through their MySpace page until recently (we suppose one of the accountants at Parlophone made them stop).
February sees the release of their first single proper, ‘The Bears Are Coming’ which sounds a bit like The Klaxons covering a British Sea Power track and playing it through a Nintendo. The buzz on this one is deafening.
‘The Bears Are Coming’ is released on Parlophone on February 25. More on Late of The Pier at www.myspace.com/lateofthepier.
Text Matt Armitage