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Music Review by Natalie Homer

The Water Rats, Kings Cross, London – Tuesday 31 July 2007

This outing was to be my first musical experience in a “smoke free” London pub. That together with the prospect of watching a band that has been compared to the likes of The Beatles, The Kinks, Squeeze as well as early Britpop – expectations were high and anticipation palpable.

I arrived fashionably late but the band knew better than to start on time. Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen. The pub was unusually, for a Tuesday night, busy with punters spilling out into the warm, balmy clear London night. I ordered a Leffe (£3.20! what?) and sauntered into the gloopy stuffiness of the stage area behind a set of heavy wooden doors at the back of the pub (but how much worse this would have been without the smoking ban).

I caught the back end of supporting 3-piece band Cheap Hotel’s set and noticed immediately that they had a left handed drummer (quite rare I believe). Somewhat of a brute if I say so myself, bashing the drums so hard I had to leave again for fear that my ears might start bleeding. With a female bassist – reminiscent of a young Suzi Quattro and a less geeky looking Lisa Loeb-a-like on guitar and vocals there was nothing (for me at least) remarkable about the band (yet?). But as I said, I did only catch the end of the set.

Slowly at first but then unashamedly so, the outside contingency shuffled en masse towards the back of the pub taking the inside drinkers with it leaving behind in place of what was once a respectably busy pub, a silent hot mist of emptiness. So all those people I had encountered at the start were solely here for Brinkman – the band likened to so many past idols. High expectations remained and likely then to be met…

Through the heads of a clearly excited crowd stepped three intrinsically British boys, absolutely of our time and yet a product of many magical decades. They launched into the upbeat almost punk rocky CAROLE SIMPSON, about a woman whose life is a bit of a mess (we women all relate to her at least once a month) and I’m going to add a few more influences here because the beat made me thing of Generation X’s Cathy McGowan/Ready Steady Go. This was followed by drum led CURSE OF THEGIRLFRIEND (blaming his single status on girls but in a way that still makes you want to have a go) and like this they ripped through a repertoire of completely memorable, upbeat quirky, at times sorrowful, at times whimsical and always honest heartfelt songs many of which were known and sung back at them. There is no chance this band will peak too soon either. As young as they are, they’ve been at it for over 10 years and the crowd of 30 something affluent types backs them on this point.

I WISH, a song about sleeping with someone you maybe wouldn’t have in the cold light of day is one that has anthem potential. I can totally see a festival crowd going mad at this one and equally CHANGE IT (completely hear the Beatles influence here) and Madness – I mean can you really make this stuff up? Yet it all sounded really fresh. GET UP AND GO was another tuneful foot stomper.

As they say themselves on their official website – “they feel they are a natural evolution to these past (and present) greats.”

PILLOW, a song about not wanting to be single this time is a type of lullaby – the type of thing you might find yourself thinking aloud. In the same vein A REAL THUNDERBOLT is a melodic celebration of a woman he must quite like. And so on and so forth. She loves me she loves me not.

In the same way that the Arctic Monkeys are compared to The Jam, Brinkman would be more like the Kinks, and yet I feel they are so much more. To have taken that truly iconic musical era and built on it in such a sensitive and infectious way, you’d be a fool not to try and catch them at this year’s V Festival.

High expectations well and truly met.