The Pineapple Chunks - White Noise, Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Tue 8 Sep 2009
Onscreen, in the real world, Huey Lewis and The News are pumping out their preppily friendly middle-of-the-road stadium-size pub-rock-with-Fairlights 1980s anthems with air-punchingly mulletted aplomb. In front of them, in the flesh and in what looks like an all too calculated parallel universe, The Pineapple Chunks are an appositely wonderful counterpoint, their Swell Maps influenced scritch-n-scratch-clatter being the very latest incarnation of an utterly English strain of post-punk DIY whimsy.
It’s already been quite an evening, with the smart-but-casual gelled-up post-quiz karaoke crowd left bemused and in search of their private rooms during ace boy/girl Noise duo Scrim’s slow-flying UFO rhythmically primitive extrapolations, while X-Lion-Tamer shut up shop before he’d even begun when the PA/Sound Card/technical gremlin interface wouldn’t allow for either bass or treble. Beyond which would’ve been, er, difficult, to say the least.
The Pineapple Chunks, however, are a sticky-sweet and consciously jagged confection, who sing Toytown anthems about how artists can’t sell their paintings, low self-esteem and other everyday sound-clashes. Tim, James, Judith and Owen are a pick and mix of geek-chic frontline ballasted by an off-kilter rhythm section who deliver manic biscuit-tin bash-ups and fudge-fingered Raincoat-coloured squat-dub-funk. In the mirror, drummer Owen is seen in triplicate, blending in with the backdrop like some multi-headed op-art hydra to the extent that he looks like he’s actually up there with Huey and Co. Which may be the point, but his Max Headroom style slowed-down/fast-forward routine, guilelessly casual galumphing and compulsory cowbell are infinitely more interesting.
The Pineapple Chunks last act finds Owen stuffing his hi-hat stand between his teeth. Meanwhile, back in the real world onscreen, Huey Lewis leaps purposefully astride the drum riser – no jacket required - like his life depended on it. Lightweight.