LIVE REVIEW: Profumo, Tough Tits, Supertunes @ Cumberland Arms (20.5.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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To drag an old adage out and adapt it a bit, variety is the spice of life and things usually don’t get more eclectic than they do at Endless Window’s monthly gig and club nights at the Cumberland Arms. Things are no different with May’s offering. The mysterious Supertunes kick things off, playing to a pretty much packed out crowd. It’s certainly an intriguing set from the group; one that blends together a heady amalgamation of post-rock riffs with psychedelia and even a small smattering of classic electronica not entirely dissimilar to the works of Giorgio Moroder. It’s a blend that really shouldn’t work on paper, but proves to be a winning combination.

Mood whiplash comes in the form of Tough Tits, who are rapidly becoming a dominant presence on the local scene. It’s not hard to see why though. Their set is heavily indebted to riot grrl and late 70s female-led punk like X-Ray Spex, Big In Japan and The Slits, with a slightly more synthy edge. It’s loud, it’s brash, it contains a lot of angry screaming and they use a telephone instead of a microphone (which deserves kudos in its own right). It’s a very short set, but one that’s filled to the brim with angst.

As if things couldn’t get more intense, Profumo decided to employ a backdrop of archival footage all about nuclear fallout. It’s completely apt though, since the group are gearing up to the release of their new EP, Cosy Catastrophe. Profumo’s songs are often filled with mountains of energy that’s in danger of spilling over, a barrage of quick-fire, witty lyrics and a mass of catchy hooks. There’s only two times during their set when things get toned down a little. The first is when they play the closer from their debut EP Brutalism, On The Waterbed. The second is during an apparently improvisational piece based on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. For anyone who knows Invisible Cities, that’s quite a task to take on. Here, the band decide to use guitar loops, melodium, synths and xylophone while holding it all together with rhythmic drums and bass to try and capture Calvino’s postmodernist tale. It works better than it has any right to. Really though, Profumo are at their best when they make pop tunes, a fact that’s only proved when they unexpectedly launch into a cover of Grimes’ REALiTi. It’s a set that shows Profumo aren’t slowing down anytime soon and bodes well for the release of Cosy Catastrophe.

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