YOU need to get on your white coat and boffin’s plastic glasses to evaluate the experiment in sound HOMEWORK has played out over the last few years.
It was possible at the start not to get the giant clue to where they were headed in their name’s Daft Punk reference. You could kid yourself they were just a young guitar band mucking around with a bit of technology.
But you only needed to listen back to those early recorded EPs at home after the punchy, six-track live set they played on Friday, to hear the difference.
At Mad Hatters, you suddenly noticed the laptops are gone, but the guitars, drums and synth sound are joined by the analogue pedigree throb of a Moog.
Singer Oli Kass’s even got the T-shirt.
The gig came with the promise of new songs, even though the much-awaited debut album 13 Towers is just out a fortnight.
Thoughts was a good way to open.
The psychokiller lope of the drums, the shark-in-th- water growl of the Moog, the Get Carter-ish siren of the synth and the defiantly Scottish vowels of Oli Kass, all gelled as he threw his head back and yelped out the lyrics like a truculent teenager.
Urban man doesn’t understand, urban man has had enough.
It was the right intro to one of the triumphs of the album, The Edge Of Control Was Black.
Live, the pace slipped down a gear, but the drama ramped up.
Solid-sounding chimes and an insistent cowbell effect kicked in. For anyone old enough, the synth started echoing Human League’s Sound Of The Crowd. Oli’s vocal channelled the dark shudder of an 80s goth god like Wayne Hussey, for the odd couple of seconds.
The one new song with its “Heavy in the heart” mantra made Oli’s brother Rich master of an upfront triphoppy beat and Aly Dennis a Seinfeldy bass.
Then it was back to classics – All I See with its almost OCD lyric checklist ending with “constant worries”.
It’s All Over kept the dancers happy – possibly with more momentum as a finisher than Cairo which came across as less striking in the melody department, once the insistent high-pitched fire alarm noise gave way.
But it was a tight, no-messing performance – though for fans it probably felt slightly skimpy.
Leaving your crowd wanting more is no bad thing.
And as Daft Punk might have reviewed the latest Homework incarnation – harder, better, faster, stronger.