Clean Cut Kid at Omeara
When a burly, tattooed and generously bearded Scouser takes to the stage, one can’t help but worry if they might have walked into a heavy metal gig by mistake. But within minutes, Clean Cut Kid have the crowd bopping along to upbeat Indie pop, proving that the Liverpool-born four-piece have the lightest of touches.
The band greet us, somewhat unconventionally, with Goodbye, but as they launch into We Used to Be in Love from last year’s debut album Felt, there’s a magnetism that pulls the crowd into the cosy atmosphere they have created. Frontman Mike Halls has a surprisingly high and nimble vocal range which is perfectly paired not only with the rapid, meticulously rhythmic guitar, drums (Ross Higginson) and bass (Garath Bullock), but with the tight backing harmonies of keyboardist Evelyn Halls. The two began writing songs together in 2012 after their friends set them up on a blind date, and tonight we are all grateful to the masterminds behind their union.
Naturally, new track Slow Progress – part of 2018 EP Painkiller – pulls the pace back, but manages to retain the same spirit. Funky bass riffs suggest more of a blues-rock influence, adding a stylish edge to the group’s alternative repertoire. By the time they reach Deafening, their latest release, the audience seem warmed to the new sounds as much as the old. The distorted guitar calls to mind the Black Keys, though it’s fair to say that these musicians are a more “clean-cut” version of the American Duo. Indeed, Pick Me Up does exactly what it promises and reverts back to the happy, snappy melodies and lyrics that brought the quartet into the spotlight.
This vitality only intensifies by the end of the night, when hit Vitamin C headlines the setlist. It’s clear to see why the track has amassed more than three million streams on Spotify: the song is a heady cocktail of passion and positivity. It’s interesting, then, that the band is now tending in a moodier direction. This is showcased with the most popular of their new tracks, Emily, which keeps the energy alive whilst at the same time suggesting through its more sober, contemplative storytelling that Clean Cut Kid are reaching their musical adolescence. And as the band have proven tonight, teenage years are where the best experimentation begins.
Photos: Yufan Wang
For further information and future events visit Clean Cut Kid’s website here.
Watch the video for Emily here: