As parties go, this one gets off to a quiet start. Folk-popsters Randolph’s Leap usually appear as a 16-legged beast, but with the rhythm section exempt from duty tonight, the slight jauntiness that often tempers Adam Ross’ wordy ruminations is gone. The resulting sound – softer than their already-light fare – actually works surprisingly well, giving Ross’ natural melodic melancholy more room to breathe. They’re the right kind of funny too: an accidental error in I Can’t Dance To This Music Anymore ends up creating its own hilarious narrative and subsequently ramps up the atmosphere. Nice work.
Speaking of which, BooHooHoo know how to get the room going. Their neon riot of a set draws from 80s pop, Prince-styled funk and electropop, creating something entirely danceable and kinda irresistible, but it’s their DIY approach that keeps things interesting. At times you can almost hear nods to Glasgow predecessors Bis; specifically the synth-heavy period around the turn of the century that narrowly pre-dated the electroclash explosion. There’s no doubting that BHH’s sights are set higher, however, and when the thoroughly infectious Stay Intact peaks on an intense wave of vocoder, you can almost smell the faint burning of blown minds.
Still, the night belongs to headliners Ette, with Carla Easton and Joe Kane both on effervescently fine form. We’re gathered here to launch their debut album Homemade Lemonade – a frantic, head-spinning collection of elastic synthpop and stridently catchy hooks – which naturally makes up the majority of their set.
It’s initially difficult to see why they refer to themselves as an ‘experimental’ pop band; despite the psych pulses and dubbed-out bass that often propels the songs, they’re always subtle side dishes rather than the main course. Regardless: in the flesh, these songs truly come alive: The Spector flourishes of Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders are uniformly joyous, while Heaven Knows takes us down the disco with pep and pizzazz etched across its chest-swelling refrain. Not so experimental, then, but with chemistry like this, who gives a fuck?