The Young Knives / Polytechnic - 53 Degrees Preston 9.3.06

Polytechnic, five scruffy lads from Manchester put on a sparkling swift thirty minutes on indie rock with a cutting edge. At times Polytechnic sound like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and "Finger T" features a bass duel. Let's just say when you get past the retro jingly jazzisms they're an extremely original band. "Let Me Down" sounds like a left of centre unironic Weezer and finishing off with "Running", the response from the audience is warmer but hardly encouraging to the band who surely deserve a bigger turn out than this after high profile support slots with The Strokes.

The Young Knives look like a vaudeville act from the 1950s with clothes courtesy of a charity shop, but I defy you to find three more amiable young chaps who have a wicked sense of humour and rock like the b*stard sons of Lemmy. The fans are out, scrambling to the front with the venue filling up nicely, but where were they when Polytechnic were on. Bass player and vocalist House Of Lords is the spitting image of a young Ronnie Barker complete with the trademark specs and fuller figure. His older brother Henry, also on vocals and guitar is a portly but jolly fellow who is nimble on his feat and never once misses a single solitary beat. Oliver on drums completes this tumultuous trio.

Not since The Housemartins have such an unfashionable band looked and sounded so cool and fresh, The Young Knives have a knack for knocking out trific riffs, soaring melodies and choruses crying out for audience participation. Sharing the Futureheads love of punky vigor with some sharp, incisive, witty songwriting. The Young Knives know how to play the crowd, showcasing their talent in an entertaining manner with tunes positively bursting with energy.

Two tracks from their latest EP "Here Comes The Rumour" and "Elaine" (about Henry and House Of Lords mum) have depth and humour and exuberance. I'm reminded of one hit wonders Bennet when seeing the Young Knives as they share with that band a confidence and determined direction while of course having a lot of fun. An older song "Hot Summer" about meeting your girlfriends parents is angry, but amusing romp about embarrassing encounters with your future in laws.

Unlike a lot of earnest, overly serious bands around at the moment The Young Knives put on rather a good show with tracks destined to appear on their forthcoming debut album which should be a cut above (geddit? cut, knives, oh please yourself, there's no pleasing some people)

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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