The Research - 53 Degrees Preston - 17.2.06
I realize that Wakefield's quirky trio The Research are a cult Zane Lowe w*nkfest band, but even I am flummoxed at the poor turn out tonight with just over 50 people in a venue that has a capacity of 400. This just creates a cosier atmosphere for the fans and band.
Lead singer and owner of the cheapest keyboard in living memory Russell The Disaster reminds me of a more cherubic looking Dominic Masters (Obscure Indie Ed: he's from the Others) in a cardie. Dark haired, glam part Georgia is a picture of sophistication on bass and vocals with petite pretty drummer Sarah who provides added harmonies.
The Research are like eating an ice cream laced with Razor Blades, deceptively sweet with a menacing unexpected surprise just moments away. They share the same kind of bedsit romanticism as Belle And Sebastian with just a hint of Bis' in a lo-fi style. Their just released debut album "Breaking Up" will strike a chord with anyone who had nursed a broken heart and performed live and there songs have more of a poignancy with all three members displaying genuine emotional depth. That's not to say The Research don't know how to have fun and enjoy themselves.
"She's Not Leaving" has a hint of Mark E. Smith in Russell's delivery with a funky bass from Georgia. The bargain basement keyboard sounds endearing and it marks out this band as something special. "Yeah Yeah" has a 60s feel Joe Meek would have been proud of with Sarah and Georgia's harmonizing very much in the same tradition as Miki and Emma from the much missed Lush.
"I Love You But..." has lush melodies and has got to be one of the most honest songs ever written about the fragility of relationships and despite being littered with expletives comes across as being rather sweet. "The Way You Used To Smile" which reached number 36 in the hit parade has Russell, who's no disaster in my eyes, coming across like the vocalists in Athlete and Pavement, but with a reassuring Yorkshire accent. "The Hard Times" is all about living in Wakefield and is realistically charming yet twee.
The small audience feel privileged to have spent some quality time with The Research who whoop and holler with gusto. For those here who don't already own the album you can put money on it that they'll have these pop creations on repeat after a speedy purchase tomorrow
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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