Sky Larkin', White Light Parade, Buffalo 77 Granadaland at The Love Apple, Bradford
Sky Larkin' suggest perfect pop. Perhaps it is the lacking a G to remind one of 1980s Video Game classic loopin' or perhaps it is the air of Sarah Records around the band but their name at the top of this evening's Granadaland bill is an indication of type.
On the undercard were to be The Sugars - modern Boo-Wop kids that they are - but like Rooney injury has ruled them out and so the slimmed down bill begins with the pseudo-Americana stylings of Buffalo 77.
Coming from the Midlands Buffalo 77 are a bassless three piece and very pleasantly they aurally harkens back to the early 1990s 4AD doodlings. It is simple and melancholic and all the better for it with the noir three's lead singer Jay Leighton's musing vocal complemented by a twiddlesome keyboard.
The wheel is not reinvented but the motion is good and the three have an impressive presence on stage. Avalanche is the stand out moment closing the set "Mid-October and I'll start it up again/It's not over but it is almost at an end/please, why do you have to say that?" is typical of the soothing lyricalisms and the night is started well with something like pop but of a more fracture type.
White Light Parade are approaching fixture status in the Bradford music scene but markedly improve to a point where they push past support slots and onto bigger and better which will surely come with the release of debut single Wait For The Weekend in December which - when played tonight - is greeted with an insane boogie by three of the more loyal followers. They are a band who should inspire loyalty with their swaggering attitude of ebullience which fits the cold Friday night in Bradford and lifts all listening. Musically they are tight with the brothers Danny and Johnno Yates complementing each other's picked out guitar work riffing off each other until Johnno's strings meet microphone finale.
Comparisons are easy and obvious but there is a glistening of originality in songs like Turn The Lights Down "Six O'Clock/I've been locked up/But I just want to go home." It is a craving for Liberty rather than a stealing of it.
Sky Larkin' cannot match the pace of WLP and come over a little more shambolic and less driven than the previous act. Vocally they sink under a fuzz of guitar - and not in that cool Steve Albini way - and lack a projection.
Which is not to say that they are not entertaining - they are - but that they seem unsure as to which direction they want to take you. Are they perfect pop or rough and ready? They play a couple of new songs and appreciate the friendly atmosphere of the Love Apple more than the previous night's Club NME crowd and the Love Apple responds with hearty applause but one is left confused and wanting to hear more of the melody of Buffalo '77 or the swagger of White Light Parade.
The night ebbs away pleasantly into the cold Bradford sky. Buffalo 77 are sombre, White Light Parade serious and Sky Larkin' a little sillier. All present pop of a sort and perfection is always something to strive for rather than achieve.