Teenagersintokyo (4 stars)


Photo: Daniel Boud

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Sun Nov 15

Before the second of two Scottish dates by what is possibly Australia’s glossiest female-led quintet, the uber-cool members huddle side-stage for a pre-show toast of Jameson’s, no chaser. Not an uncommon pre-gig ritual, for sure, but here it oozes self-contained sass. Not that vocalist Samantha Lim doesn’t want to get close, as she beckons the audience to fill up the space in front of her for a short but perfectly formed set that sounds tougher than on new single, ‘Isabella,’ already honed by Bat For Lashes producer David Kosten.

Beyond the gloss and the acronym the band name would make if the words were separated, this is catwalk art-rock disco pop in exelcis, like New Young Pony Club reinventing Penetration. The rhythm-friendly mix of Sophie McGinn’s spikily jangular guitar and Miska Mandic’s English New Wave keyboards are pulsed along by Sydney radio DJ Linda Marigliano’s bass and woolly-hatted drummer and sole male Rudy Udovich. There’s a yearning vulnerability to Lim’s vocal, especially on Plath-esque paean to self-nullification, ‘End It Tonight.’ A full-on percussive wig-out does exactly that, only in triumph rather than despair.

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