INTERVIEW

“WINGS SINGER PAUL MCCARTNEY once scoffed as someone told him that guitar music was dead in the water. “I didn’t write ‘Band On The Run’ on a synthesizer, did I?” he probably roared. Well Paul, it’s about time that you stopped your mocking! The big quote bashing around the ears of NYC duo Shy Child […]

“WINGS SINGER PAUL MCCARTNEY once scoffed as someone told him that guitar music was dead in the water. “I didn’t write ‘Band On The Run’ on a synthesizer, did I?” he probably roared. Well Paul, it’s about time that you stopped your mocking!

The big quote bashing around the ears of NYC duo Shy Child goes along the lines of, “This band are to electronic music what The White Stripes are to Led Zeppelin.” Maybe it’s a throwaway line, or maybe time will prove it to be as accurate as that once muttered, “the girls want to sleep with them, the boys want to be them” Beatles quip. Right now, the latter seems far more plausible.

“We’re a rock band who play keyboards instead of guitars,” says drummer Nate as his tour bus hurtles towards Leeds for tonight’s Faversham gig, the first of the band’s recent UK tour to support their ‘Drop The Phone’ single. It’s said in Nate’s relaxed and nonchalant New York accent (both he and singer/keytarist Pete met at university there) as if obvious to all who have not just heard Shy Child but seen their live show also. 24 hours later, in London’s Fabric, we realise just how simple a definition of the band it is.
Although they profess to feeling most comfortable in the studio (having just finished recording their Wall Of Sound debut album with Chris Zane and Basement Jaxx knob twiddler Jason Boschoff) it’s really in the live arena that you need to be introduced to these two Americans who embody the cross over between indie rock and electronica more so than you might think Klaxons do.

On record ‘Drop The Phone’ sounds like it has nowhere else to go – all brilliantly squelching with Pete’s keytar and synth loops, and four to the floor with Nate’s cowbell heavy pace making; it’s as good as it can get – but, as the band prove at the launch of Van’s ‘Shockrock’ compilation, there’s a whole other route that this electronic carnival can take. And that’s exactly what Shy Child sound like, live more than ever: a hands-in-the-air-arm-around-your-neighbour party band.

While Nate shows up Meg White for the bare bones drummer that she clearly is, Pete makes Mr White appear to be as lazy a musician as former Oasis whipping boy Bonehead. As well as taking care of the vocals he’s constantly strapped to his keytar on which he juggles bass parts and lead synths. It’s pretty impressive until you glance down to see that his feet appear to be doing the work of another four Chemical Brothers and realise that every sound you’re hearing (sounds that are far beefier live) is being masterfully played in front of you, by just two people.

So, for the band’s ability to reignite live dance music more so than any other growing (ahem) ‘New Rave’ outfit, it’s no wonder that CSS, Hot Chip and Soulwax have all shared the bill with Shy Child. And, although Macca can turn his nose up at most who refuse to pick up stringed pieces of wood, the fact that Shy Child would be just as at home sharing a stage with The Strokes as they would (and were) with Spank Rock leaves him and fellow doubters without a leg to stand on. Of their new album, due for release in May, Nate hopes to surprise all fans (“We’ve mixed it up a little bit,” he smiles) before taking to the road with our very own Klaxons. By that time we’ll have a better idea if 2007 is going to be the year that dance music is triumphant. If it indeed is you can bet that Shy Child are going to be very involved in the victory.

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