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Double G & The Traitorous 3
Yes, the titular ‘double G’ here is Green Gartside, which effectively makes this a Scritti Politti gig – something that post-punkers and synth-pop fans have awaited for 26 years. Scritti Politti never used to play live. Formed in 1977, the first squat-punk incarnation of the band came to an end in 1980 just before the band were due to support Gang of Four, when Green was paralyzed by a panic attack. The band’s next three incarnations – the lo-fi indie soul band who made 1982’s ‘Songs To Remember’, the hi-tech R&B musicians who crafted 1985’s ‘Cupid & Psyche’ and 1988’s ‘Provision’, and the rap-metal crew who recorded 1999’s ‘Anomie & Bonhomie’ – were exclusively studio-bound projects.
Now Green appears to have conquered his crippling stage-fright. Since January this year he’s been playing low-key, incognito dates at Kilburn’s
Luminaire and Brixton’s Windmill. Backed by a slightly shambolic young band – most of them drinkers at Green’s local in Dalston – he’s been previewing his self-recorded new album ‘White Bread, Black Beer’, to be released this June on Rough Trade. It’s been reported as a return to Scritti’s post-punk roots, but that’s only part of the story. There are nods to Green’s hidden past as an adolescent folk obsessive (‘Dr Abernathy’, ‘Robin hood’); there are multi-tracked harmonies that recall Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys at their most experimental (‘Snow In Sun’, Mrs Hughes’); there are moments of twitchy lo-fi funk; there is even a curious fusion of glam-rock and country and western (‘After Six’). There are also some sweet digital ballas (‘Boom Boom Bap’, ‘Locked’, ‘Window Wide Open’) that recall old faves like ‘Oh Patti’ and ‘A Little Knowledge’. Green’s gorgeous candy-coloured voice still sounds exquisite, but some of the songs actually work better live, when the slightly chaotic set-up adds a delicious edge to Green’s slick pop Savvy.
Source: TimeOut, London, John Lewis, April 19th 2006