Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Zone, Swansea
October 1997

So, they sound "just like Placebo" then do they? (Well, that's the obligatory reference out of the way.) Not only were Scarfo the first to release singles (and were then followed by Brian Molko) on both Fierce Panda and Deceptive Records, where Placebo offer an enjoyable, if toned-down, rewriting of Sonic Youth's finest moments, Scarfo knuckle down to an aggressive and intruding sound stripped of American pretensions and loaded with London attitude and arrogance.

Fortunately, Jamie Hince has the tunes to match the claims (even if the majority of them are comprised of the same couple of notes), and when freed of a restrictive studio atmosphere, these songs are capable of answering the critics, and raising the stakes to their own level. Improving on a lack-lustre Reading Festival appearance, tonight Scarfo rip through their set with an energy not seen in Swansea for far too long. In this setting, the songs sound more compelling and more desperate than ever, especially highlights such as 'Alkaline', 'Cosmonaut No.7', and current closer 'Prison Architect'.

Despite the decision to omit any tracks released before their return at the beginning of the year (however, any band that can afford to leave out the likes of 'Skinny' and 'Wailing Words' must be showing their worth), Scarfo prove that it is possible to create an atmosphere in Swansea where innovative music can exist, even if only briefly, and that is an important factor. The way they drove they might have died, but for now at least, they could be everything to us.