Black Affair (4 stars)

Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Sun 3 Jun


In an aside from his post-Beta Band project King Biscuit Time, Steve Mason has concocted a fresh sound with Black Affair, being profiled on the band’s MySpace as ‘probably the best known and most discussed modern songwriters and thinkers’. Yet here such tongue-in-cheek notoriety at first fail to titillate a somewhat comatose crowd.

In a support slot to New Young Pony Club of Intel advert fame, sections of the audience react slightly confusedly, with Mason imploring people to move forward towards the stage and dance. Soon, though, a combination of his swagger and the minimal electro of his tunes succeed where his instructions fail. The Miami bass kicks, sleazy lyrics and vocoder vocals of the excellent ‘Sweet’ are fierce, building into a hypnotic layer of synths but the set’s best moment comes in the form of ‘Japanese Happening’, a song that conjures up the atmosphere of an eerie 80s computer game theme tune complete with the twang of Casio oriental strings. It may have taken them a while to adjust, but after Mason exits, the crowd seem to miss him when he’s gone.

(Miles Johnson)

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