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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 163 - 12/31/09

An Illusion Of Grandeur From A One Trick Pony
Tip Toe Records

For many years (uh, decades...) The Wedding Present have been my favourite band from Leeds. Now, here's some other gang of noise-poppers, quite non-similar to TWP (well some guitars are related). But indeed very likeable. Scratch and feel the Itch.

The Itch gang is a foursome, built around the on/off screamo vocals of Mike Milner (vox & guitar), with neat guitar pick'n'chime by Steven Banks (guitar), and rough and loose grooves and thrills by Lee Strong (drums) and John Darke (bass). They've been around since over 10 years, and An Illusion Of Grandeur From A One Trick Pony (neat title) is their third longplayer. Inspired by bands like Trail of the Dead, The Appleseed Cast and Spy Versus Spy, they throw a wild mixture of energetic rock being a bit difficult to place. To my ears they sound like many and none, but, maybe, imagine (when using old-school references) Pixies clashing into Pavement. That said, Itch is no copyist band. One reviewer described them as " with singing and without pretension". Meaning the lads are tight but loose. They for sure seem to be a humorous gang, tongues-in-cheeks style. They're performing blasting, blistering songs in a heartfelt and energetic way, and their song material is very good.

It's hard to pick any favourites of the eleven songs, because there are many candidates. But, opening "Big.Clever" and "The Bombshell (re-mix)" because of their richness and variety in sounds and rhythms. With lots of intricate pattern, avoiding being 'clever'. "Fine Tooth" is another favourite. As well as the closing "Never In A Million Years". And, yeah, I can't avoid mentioning "This Place Is Full Of Dinosaurs, So I Waited For The Next Big Bang And Two Came At Once". Longest title of the year award.

I saw Leeds United in a poor football match against Brentford away in mid-December. I guess this 4-a-side 'team' would have done a way better performance. Itch is both gentle and brutal at once. Like a shark attack (hence one of their song titles), from a vegetarian shark that is. Check Itch and feel the desire to scratch.

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