Battle / The On-Offs - Manchester Night and Day 5.03.06

Stuck in a 70’s Jam loop, Danny Connor and his mockney boys The On-Offs are fascinating to watch, but achingly mundane to hark at. Songs like ‘Harry’ which ventures little past the notion that ‘Harry is a lunatic’ and maybe Harry is, but done in such a witless gormless way the result is no-one gives a shit about Harry. They're undeniably tight and passionate, and the potential is there, front man Danny embodies everything a rock star should be but their songs aren’t able to match their bollocks.

Battle are the complete opposite, their little bodies probably have the smallest bollocks in the world, their songs on the other hand are pulsating classics borne of 80’s quiffery. Yes they do give off a little stench a la Bravery, but on the whole they're a bulkier more articulate affair.

Opener ‘Feel The Same’ is draped in swirling atmospherics and a pulsating bass line that instantly rebukes our preconceptions, they're not as wet as they look, and to tell the truth they look wetter than Keane. Take bassist Tim Scudder, dressed as a 80’s banker and assuming the look of Teller (from Pen and Teller fame) in a bungee, he’s gonna win no awards for style or presence but you cant help but stare at the freak. Not that any of this matters as each track massages our ears and loosens our limbs.

Stand out track ‘Takuya’ is fantastic, it’s sharp instrumental tirade sounds fresh, with screaming guitars trading style against syncopated drums to devastating effect. Latest single ‘Tendency’ looks on paper a raucous Bloc Party style romp, but somehow it’s gaunt, like a malnourished version of the New Cross boys, all pace and no punch.

For sure these boys have it, they just need guidance in projecting their talent beyond the superficial. Tracks like Tendency display nothing of what Battle embody as a band, they are dark, brooding and intelligent and definitely ones to watch.

Words / Photos: Dan Pratley

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