The 100 Club – 24th April | Photo by Chris Sharpe
Wedged between the bulky columns of this celebrated subterranean canteen, a sizeable knot of bodies were striving for an unobstructed view of Dutchman Jacco Gardner and his band, in London to push new album Hypnophobia. Channeling fresh-faced Technicolor psych of the sort aced by the Zombies and ‘Head’-era Monkees, here were five fluid young musicians of rather deadpan demeanour, playing the parts written and recorded by the bandleader. Settling into their melodic trip-pop groove from the get-go, the group gradually became a little restricted by it, supplying a consistent light-touch montage that was unyielding in its devotion to the late-Sixties avant-garde.
Nonetheless, Jacco and cohorts were able to hold the attention in striking instrumental snippets fired by surges of Wurlitzer and harpsichordal organ, and aided by tuneful tubular basslines as well as the frontman and his fellow guitarist occasionally turning their hands to a Korg or percussive accessory. The melodic counterplay of the lead riff in ‘Outside Forever’ was a standout example of this passé-futurist theme-tunery. But the dynamics of the set as a whole remained fairly static, only turning up anything of disparity during the brisk shimmy of ‘House On The Moon’, whose Floydian nod was mostly to ‘Saucerful Of Secrets’. If the crowd’s focus began to waver, ‘Find Yourself’ served as an invigorating sonic slap, being a dizzying collage of swaying stoner pop where the band pulled out multiple hooks so pronounced you could hang your kaftans on them. Then, in spite of audience protestations, Jacco and troupe were back in their dressing room, perhaps with no more peaks to scale.