Breton press shot

Earning Their Stripes

Breton press shot
Corsica Studios, London
Wednesday March 28, 2012

There's no place like home. In the world of Spielberg, Disney, Dorothy, Last of the Summer Wine and KFC adverts, we know this to be gospel. Something of the same heartwarming self-assurance affects Breton at Corsica Studios, having in their own words gotten used to playing venues "# where nobody knows us #" - lending a celebratory air to the evening's entertainment that lacked only a 'Welcome Home Boys' banner and some bunting.

Breton have been steadily collecting column inches over the past 12 months or so for the collaborative audio-visual approach to their craft, one grounded in dark synths and monstrous, post-rock riffs. To date, though, these column inches have largely been in the domain of the bedroom blogger or record floor pamphlet. This packed-out show and the release of their debut LP Other People's Problems, however, are the stuff of the nationals.

The brooding intensity of Breton's music tonight could have come across as impenetrable. 'Edward The Confessor', a stuttering, combative assault, is set to a backdrop montage of urban decline, Roman Rappak's accusatory poetry delivered while stalking the stage. The rest of the band's backing incantations make for an oppressive live experience. Isolating, then, you'd think, if it weren't for the playful mid-song banter and grounding in gaffer tape bass repairs which reflect a genuine exuberance in their performance tonight.

From here, the set really kicks on. In 'Electrician', Breton have found a powerfully addictive Vek-like hook to accompany the heavy beats, which gets the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd collectively swaying, if not quite dancing. 'Jostle' verges on the type of looped Eurodance you may have heard through Faliraki club toilet doors as you're puking up the last of your Reef, but it soon evolves into a sort of tropical hardcore, with Rappak bent double in his earnest delivery, bringing to mind the ever exuberant Ed MacFarlane in doing so.

The show closes out with a rapid rendition of the rave-rock 'Episodes', Breton's 'Hummer', a track which similarly failed to make the debut album cut but makes for a limb-flailingly dangerous live injection. Like Foals, Breton's reputation for cultured craft combined with a frenetic live experience will undoubtedly see them spring from South London - and mean they shouldn't have too many problems playing where nobody knows them in the future.

words: Andy Porter

Breton's debut album Other People's Problems is out now on Fat Cat Records.