Live Review: The Naked and Famous

10 Mar

The Naked and Famous: Shattering preconceptions


Digital: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Naked and Famous are neither naked nor particularly famous…what they are though is the epitome of cool right now.

These five stylish Kiwis are the latest darlings of the music press despite arriving on these shores with little more than two MGMT-esque singles and the screen-friendly looks of T4 presenters.

So they should be awful, right? Wrong.

Tonight the five piece, on the last date of their UK tour, provide a masterclass in ruthlessly shattering preconceptions.

Having heard a few tracks on MySpace, I’m sure I wasn’t the only person here expecting saccharine synths and lightweight pop tunes, but what we got was something far heavier, and much more absorbing.

The opener, ‘Passive Me, Aggressive You’, was a tour de force of ribcage rattling bass and contrasting harmonies as boy/girl vocalists Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith destroyed lame comparisons to the xx , proving they are more Jenny And Johnny with a nuclear weapon slung over their shoulders.

Singles ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Punching in a Dream’ are pop perfection but they are interspersed by several darker, brooding numbers which play havoc with your expectations. One minute they thrill with delicate keys and sultry vocals, the next they are destroyed by a juggernaut of rhythm and enough fuzzy feedback to put My Bloody Valentine to shame.

The Naked and Famous are pop pioneers, electro experimentalists and a brash, bass-heavy dance  act, all rounded into one. They even have the audacity to dedicate their encore to anyone who hasn’t enjoyed their set. Unsurprisingly, no-one bites, no-one heckles and no-one leaves. It’s a job very well done.


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