Live Review
Hoxton Sq. Bar & Kitchen
Hoxton, London

There’s only one moment tonight when Southend five-piece CLOUT! don’t look like the most original and enviably learned band you’re likely to come across all year. It’s when wearing the influence of hip-hop on their sleeves (something that they do proudly and often) results in a couple of choruses of “Heeeyyy, Hooo”. Tawdry like ’80s rap 101, or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air once you’re older than twelve, it’s a blip made minute by the band’s surrounding mix of abrasive noise and laconic dub grooves.

Most impressive are the early industrious tracks that soon berate the Led Zep thunder drums of opener ‘Maybe Another Day’ with a squally of precise feedback and zombie vocals, like LA’s HEALTH. But, then, the semi-skanking joints (there’s no other word for them) are largely no mid-set fillers either. They have sometime-singer Bradley leading the busy room in a baggy ol’ dance, winding and twisting to the band’s break beats, loose limbed and soft at the knees. And this is on a Sunday night! There shouldn’t even be this many people here; nobody should be enjoying themselves enough to move. They are because CLOUT! take a number of subversive influences and mash them into all kinds of wonderful shapes. Sometimes they’re baggy little pop songs that pull in reggae, dub and hip hop; other times they’re controlled sonic experiments. Always they’re more unique than most of what you’ll hear right now… minus a “Heeeyyy, Hooo” or two.

By Stuart Stubbs

Originally published in issue 25 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2011