LIVE REVIEW: Kiran Leonard, Mouses, Euan Lynn @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle (19.03.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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There was a bill of two halves tonight, as directness battles with complexity on the stage of the Cumberland Arms. In the red corner, local DIY artists Euan Lynn and Mouses. The former plies a good trade in punk riffing and bashed-up lo-fi beats fed through a Game Boy, offering up a series of short, sharp tracks as well as a suitably energised Bikini Kill cover halfway through proceedings – the arrested development lyrical palate, however, is a crutch he could perhaps do with losing.

Billingham duo Mouses bring the fuzz as well, with their noisy pop bearing the influence of Elephant 6 luminaries like The Apples in Stereo and Elf Power like a stick of Blackpool rock. There’s a lot of promise evident within their set, even if the squealing-in-Yankface vocals could do with a bit of reigning in to let the melodies really flow.

After that sugary pop rush then, here comes the prodigious Kiran Leonard, who proceeds to launch into a sixteen-minute epic from an album that hasn’t been released yet. It’s a bold and baffling start to, well, a bold and baffling set. His work walks a tightrope that could easily slip into self-indulgence, but the army of oddball hooks he wields instead makes for a gripping, thrilling performance. The caffeinated energy of early XTC, the brightly coloured complexity of Deerhoof and the delicacy of Bends-era Radiohead occasionally springs to mind, but Leonard’s songs of alien abduction and drunkenness in the fields of Yorkshire spring from a highly individual mind.

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