Oh, irony. These days, when certain blokes (i.e drunks) yell, “You’re the best band ever!” at a gig, I can never tell if they’re really sincere or just heckling. Such was the case a few weeks ago, when Shampoo took the stage at 529. To all the world, they’re three unassuming, thoroughly modern, bright-looking folk. But when the lights go off and the stage is awash in magenta and blue, they slip into the silkiest new wave outfit this side of the ’80s. On-point drum machine and sherbet synths? Check. Slick bass lines with a whiff of funk? Check. Vocals as smooth as a baby’s bum? Oh, you betcha.
Now, you could ask who’s the real joker here – the drunks that pretend to “enjoy” what they really don’t, or a band that dons the romantic airs of Talk Talk or Avalon-era Roxy Music like long-lost clothes from the thrift shop. But you know what? Everyone in the front row (me included) were slow dancing by the end of the night, and that’s what counts. Same goes for this video for “Katie” — it may seem like a spoof, with the billowy silk sheets blowing right into their faces, but who can deny the majestic bliss of the pop song behind them?
Besides, you never know. Talk Talk started as Duran Duran obsessives, and blossomed into the messiahs of the post-rock movement. So, careful who you heckle, eh?
Shampoo’s new tape, Terrible Heat, is out now on Bear Kid Recordings.
Shampoo will celebrate the release of Terrible Heat tonight at the Mammal Gallery. Supporting them will be Erica Eso and Red Sea. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5.