New Young Pony Club – Debaser Medis, Stockholm 03/09/2010

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From the sophisticated Scandinavian chic of the Moderna Museet to the street side cafes of hipsterville Södermalm, everything about Stockholm screams style.  Ditto the kids that turn up (unfashionably early) to Debaser on a Friday night.  They’re more concerned with throwing jagged shapes around than throwing Bacardi Breezers up outside. Booze Britain this ain’t.

This crowd isn’t going to embrace any old plodding journeymen pub rockers. Their lovely blue eyes might do a little cry if confronted with Ben Sherman and beer bellies.

So enter stage left at midnight, New Young Pony Club. While back in Blighty, the now four-piece might have been at the height of their style in 2007, when their album Fantastic Playroom perhaps not riding the cusp of the wave certainly put some unashamed pop fun into nu-rave (sic), it seems they’re now for Stockholmers.  And like right now too, as if they’re the new kids in town.

As the new kid in town, imagine my surprise when the cool kids got down most to songs from new long player The Optimist.  You’d have to have your glass more than half full to think the album moved the NYPC sound on or kept their previous party spirit alive, but live the band’s a different proposition.

Confusianity reigns as the crowd fail to get going during Hiding on The Staircase from their Mercury-nominated debut, but when singer Tai pounces around the stage like a cat on a hot tin roof to Dolls from this year’s album, the young Swedes seem to take its refrain of ‘You Won’t Do This/You Won’t Do That’ to their hearts and heels.  Almost like they’d been hearing it all their little blonde lives from Mum/Dad/Teacher/Boss and now was the time to cut loose.  I’ve seen Let The Right One In- no way I was going to stand in the way of disaffected Swedish youth, vampires or not.

Keyboardist Lou never fails to look like anything other than an extra from a Robert Palmer video, and her work on comfy-edged Depeche Mode-lite The Optimist calms the mood down for a while.  But then it’s over to front woman Tai to take over again.  Pull the cord of a Mattel ‘Whatever’ doll and you’d expect her voice to come out, but her on-stage energy defies the drollness of her delivery.

Older (and dare I say it, better) tunes Ice Cream and The Get Go entice the audience around to the excitement possible in the first album, before encore The Bomb leaves haircuts out of place and sweat patches under pits.  Not very Swedish at all (unless you count Final Countdown heroes Europe, but there’s always an exception to prove the rule).

We’ve always thought our European cousins are behind us haven’t we? I mean they didn’t even invent the wheel until like the 1800s in Scandinavia right?  It may be that the time has been and gone in the UK for New Young Pony Club and, judging by the reaction at this show, our friends across the water are just catching on. But maybe this time they’re right; sometimes the tortoise wins the race.  NYPC are still a heck of a night out whatever the year.

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