You wouldn’t necessarily class them as musical twins, but it makes a weird kind of sense that the School are supporting the Hidden Cameras tonight. Both bands excel at the vulnerable, human end of indiepop, all warm baths to counteract sad times. The fleeting feeling that Everything’s Alright. The Cardiff openers are hitting a rich vein of form at the moment Brian, and tonight their extra members’ grins hits the girl group tunes and everything radiates brilliantly around this big, gorgeous hall. The small crowd not sitting in the pews grows with each song, and witnesses an Alex Chilton tribute lead into songs that sound both well worn and thrilling. Dipping a toe into low level ubiquity as their album release beckons, the School are pop diamonds amongst much carbon.
Although surrounded by band members rocking such looks as wolfy graphic designer, foxy military librarian and at least one benevolent priest, it’s hard to tear eyes from Hidden Cameras leader Joel Gibb. Buff and erect like Superman, he contorts his face around every syllable, mouth and eyebrows twisting like some muscular exercise regime. And, oh yeah, there’s music involved too. While the Cameras have always struggled to top the awesome hymnal thunderbolt of debut album ‘The Smell Of Our Own’, a subsequent merch splurge will reveal new LP ‘Origin:Orphan’ to be almost as good, and that’s very good indeed. Stripped of some of the more lush ornamentation, tonight’s set still twists fingers into your heart, Gibb’s knack with a strange, baroque melody cocooned by his earnest, instrument swapping, harmony swathing, good looking show off talented bastard bandmates. So: the skittering earworm of ‘Awoo’, the chugging nagging beauty ‘Colour Of A Man’, and a ragged, double pace ‘Ban Marriage’. On and on, until, brilliantly, the venue cuts the PA halfway through their last song, leaving musicians in the crowd and vocals sung up to the ceiling. Great stuff.