JUVENILES // 22.10 // THE LEXINGTON
Juveniles + Glitches + Puzzles
Anyone who has been following Jeff’s pages probably already know how much I like Juveniles. Since their first releases it was obvious that this was an exciting new pop/dance act. Their fusion of guitar, beat and synths with catchy vocals recalled the best of the 80’s without sounding dated. All this led to their self-titled debut that is, in my opinion, the best pop album released this year. And no, it’s not on the UK top 40 but that doesn’t making it less honest brilliant pop.
The concert at The Lexington on Tuesday was their first concert in London as headliners since the release of the album but they played here several times before as part of bigger parties or opening for other bands. At the last minute, Glitches were added to the bill that already included the previously announced Puzzles, who were first to play. Their sound resembles Juveniles or We Have Band but I didn’t yet manage to connect with Puzzles like these other bands. I can’t say that they are not good, because they seem to be. The material sounded promising and I definitely will pay attention to them but I can’t really judge them from this first performance.
Unlike Puzzles, Glitches had my attention from the moment they began to play. I liked the elegant guitar riffs and the precise drum lines but it was the vocal performance that really caught me: a deep powerful voice, full of passion filled the room and the subtle electronic samples and chorus complemented it perfectly. Songs like ‘Warm Seas’ or ‘Time Will Tell’, have the power to take this band far. Some might compare them to acts like Twin Shadow or Hurts but Glitches have created their own unique sound. It’s dark, detailed and rhythmic. This is pop with brains and heart. Bands like this are not common so check them out while you can. With several London concerts on their schedule you don’t have any excuse to miss them.
Finally Juveniles came on stage. Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic and Thibaut Doray were flanked on stage by Christophe and Ousseynou Cissé on the keyboards, vocals, and bass and percussion. They started straight away, opening their set with with the great ‘Through the Night’. In one second Juveniles had the crowd captivated. No stops and they attacked ‘All I Ever Wanted Was Your Love’, played as if it was the last song of the night, followed by ‘Strangers’, one of their most powerful singles.
Juveniles tracks are irresistible dance pop anthems on their album recordings but live they move to a completely different level. Everything is more powerful: the synths get more psychedelic, Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic improvises with his guitar and the percussion is enhanced by electronic samples and the inevitable cowbell. And that guitar solo at the end of ‘Strangers‘ is just unapologetically catchy. Perfect.
Next came ‘We Are Young’, the single released by Kitsuné that put their names on the lips of indie dance fans. It felt as if Juveniles were giving us everything and this slower track allowed them to catch their breath and prepare us for what was about to come. Between ‘Truth’ (the Yuksek single that features them) and ‘Fantasy’ (their irresistible funk, disco dance creation) came the surprise track of the night. This still unreleased and untitled song is probably one of the best things they composed so far. It starts calmly but soon it turns into a feast of sexy guitars, groovy percussion, and addictive keyboards. I don’t know the name of the track (‘Where you want me’ maybe…) but I know that it must be released and soon. Juveniles are amazing, and they need just a bit of luck to become global, maybe this is a track that can make the difference.
After that it was easy to finish the concert in a warm party mood. ‘Fantasy’ was even better than the recorded version (bigger, bolder, longer) and just because everybody wanted a bit more, they closed the concert as they close the album , with ‘Void’.
With their stage time shortened just before they started some tracks were missing like ‘Washed Away’(how did they leave this one out?!?!), ‘Logical’ or ‘Summer Nights’ but that didn’t make the concert less good. When a band performs with such spirit and they use that energy in a creative and powerful way, you come away feeling your money was well spent. They may only have one album and a handful of singles but they are already a thrilling live act but this won’t be their ultimate concert in the UK. They are growing and becoming even better, so I bet that anytime soon they will be added to the best festival line ups. Let’s wait, see, listen and enjoy!