ALBUM: Psycho Comedy ‘Performance Space Number One’

Perhaps this is the sound to listen for in these new days of notional freedom, coming as it does from Liverpool, a city of poets and rebels, and the birthplace of a certain beat combo that best expressed the hopes and dreams of every baby boomer the world over.

But this lot are called Psycho Comedy and Psycho Comedy calls itself an art collective. And why not? These days, we’re all free to identify as we see fit, but considering what we as Brits have just collectively been through, it is rather an apt name. And so a new band is born after the storm and, with it, a debut album entitled ‘Performance Space Number One’.

It’s a 13-track offering that’s liberally spiced with an unexpectedly pleasant George Martinesque twist of the dial, but by the second track (‘First Cousin Once Removed’), this Scouse collective finds itself moved on a considerable distance from the Mathew Street heritage that all their peers have traded on for too long.

Gifted musicianship is evident, the sound of what could be a Rickenbacker tying them like an umbilical cord to their artistic forebears, but this band also has at its disposal something of Little Barrie’s muscle with the home-cooked humour of Roger McGough. In short, they sound different.

The track ‘Standin’’ zips forward playfully but does stand too close for comfort beside ‘Park Life’ by you know who, and while you hear throughout the ghost of a young Iggy Pop making his presence felt at the mic, ultimately this is a record that refreshes; the band appears wise enough to have stepped away from the Hyde Park Corner soapbox that has of late been too easily mounted by fellow lime-lighters.

Possessing a touch of glam and a scintilla of camp (let’s call what they do ‘glamp rock’), they do just enough (on ‘Sleepwalking’) to make John Cooper Clarke crack a wry smile. And if they stick to their guns they will manage to turn heads, although there’s an odd moment, on ‘The Hangman’, when you hear what sounds like Jim Morrison parroting Larry Grayson – but in a greater music world that’s bursting at the seams with crud, it comes as a welcome digression. 

There are enough ear worms here to go fishing with, and alongside a smattering of curiously delivered lines of blank verse throughout, there’s more than enough to set this young band on an enjoyable and singular path. So with this album that drops on St Valentine’s Day, still thine beating heart, shine your shoes and pucker up because your guardian and soulmate might’ve bought you this long player, instead of James O’Brien’s autobiography, as a token of their unfailing dotcom love.

Performance Space Number One’ is out on 14 February via Silver Machine Recordings

Jason Holmes