Bull & Gate, Kentish Town
At some point over the last twelve months, whilst holed away recording a second album, Hatcham Social have gone through some lineup changes. They’ve got a new bassist, for one, and Electricity In Our Homes frontman Charles Boyer has made them a five-piece. Singer Toby is without his guitar too; although that’ll no doubt change once his broken hand (an Offset Festival casualty) is fixed. He should consider the ‘compere pop star’ stance though – he’s good at it, if a little awkward looking without a shielding instrument, and as he fingers his microphone and wobbles his knees from time to time there no question that the band sound meaty enough with three stringed things instead of four (the Coxon-like Jerome Watson makes more than enough screeching racket himself).
Two Hatcham consistencies are their perfectly balanced, 80s noir pop songs, which are forlorn without being pantomime new romantic or needy and wallowing (somehow we’re still not bored of ‘So So Happy Making’, new track ‘New York Girl’ might be their best yet and even a closing cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Vicious’ insights a hug and a flowerpot dance or two), and, rather sadly, how underrated this band still are. Maybe it’s Monday night’s torrential rain, but a measly crowd has made the show considering just how perfectly formed last year’s ‘You Dig The Tunnel…’ LP is, and judging by the three new songs we hear tonight, album number two will be just as handsome. Hopefully more people will realise it.
By Stuart Stubbs
Originally published in issue 21 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2010