Fake Laugh, West Princes at The Hug and Pint, 16/10/17

It’s a dark, bleak October’s evening, and the nation is at risk with Hurricane Ophelia looming large – it would be fair to say that this isn’t the most fitting of settings for a Fake Laugh show.

Fronted by Kamran Khan, also of Japanese House fame, the band arrive at The Hug and Pint armed with an arsenal of sun-drenched melodies as Ophelia darkens its doors.

 

Warming up the stage in suitable fashion are West Princes, who also specialise in the sort of dreamy, jangly pop that doesn’t suit stormy (or general Glaswegian) weather.

A terrific airing of debut single ‘Wet Bark Is A Slug’ is an early highlight of a set which features hypnotic body popping as impressive as the tunes on offer.

The addition of a keys player bolsters their sound, and there is a newfound, brooding confidence in the Princes’ stage presence.

The pulsing, anthemic ‘A Thousand Arms Length’ brings another dimension to their set and is easily their best work to date.

Fake Laugh take to the stage just as the venue starts to fill out again, and the latecomers miss out on the excellent, thrashing intro to ‘Melt’.

Frontman Khan sports a Weezer blue album tshirt and on the basis of how they are performed this evening, his songs wouldn’t sound out of place on that very record, particularly on the melodic of ‘You Will Find Out’.

Despite only being performed live once before, ‘Hiding Place’ is faultless, exemplifying how tight Fake Laugh are as a live act.

After a playful cover of They Might Be Giants’ ‘They’ll Need A Crane’, the band slow things down with a mediocre ‘Kinda Girl’ which is minor blip, in an otherwise near flawless set.

An urgent ‘You Do Know’ and gorgeous rendition of the waltzing ‘As I Get To Know You Better’ elevates the standard once again, before a distortion-fuelled blast of early single ‘Mind Tricks’ brings proceedings to a close.

There are few frills with Fake Laugh this evening, and stripped of the layers of luscious production which feature on record, they are a very different entity live.

The three-piece make far more noise than the sum of their parts, but still retain their melodic nature throughout.

There is little to doubt Khan as a talented songwriter and musician, and the versatility of his material stands up on this, his first headline show in Glasgow.

 

Words: Graham McCusker

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