Late Of The Pier are an amazing band from Castle Donington, a Leicestershire village most famous for its racing circuit and hosting the Monsters Of Rock festival in the ‘80s. They have a new single called "The Bears Are Coming," a mutant beast of an electro-pop song held together by pipecleaners and chewing gum as it lurches through numerous illogical time changes. It is what we hoped New Rave might be in our wildest dreams. It also comes with a video (above) so Wicker Man weird that when they were filming it, the band freaked out, believing that they had pried opened the door to a parallel dimension which then slammed shut and wouldn’t let them back through.
On a cold Thursday night in a living-room sized club on an industrial estate in Reading, Late Of The Pier play to a throng of teenagers with funny haircuts who'd been going mental to the Megadrive-themed digital hardcore of nutty Swedish support band Slagsmalklubben since 7pm. It's the underage crowd who really took to New Rave's message of messy musical irreverence, and now their ears are open to anything, as long it’s fast, loud and fun.
When I first saw Late Of The Pier in the early part of 2006 (yes, they pre-date Klaxons) they were a little bit shrill and pretentious. They’ve improved immeasurably since then, with the ubiquitous post-punk influence mellowing into something more like new wave, as well as getting a whole heap funkier. Anyway, they’d say that pretension is a good thing because it signifies a willingness to try something new and not be scared about looking like fools as a result.
“Imagination” is a word that Late Of Pier use constantly. “Not enough bands use their imagination these days because it’s easy to get by doing something that’s been done before,” reckons bassist/synth player Faley. “It’s a time for change from dull, dreary indie Britpop,” continues Sam, who is fond of making bold declarations. “I’m not into the idea of patriotism in music. We want to explore a genderless, classless, openness in music where you don’t have to think about your day job. Let’s be a bit surreal.” Late Of The Pier confirm they are citizens of the Milky Way rather than aligning themselves to any flag.
They ignore song structures and constantly burst off in unexpected directions to avoid repeating themselves, achieving a sense of glorious disorientation as a result. They worship their Akai 1000, sampling and resampling themselves endlessly, building up dense layers of instrumentation. Each time they play a song, Sam will not only sing different words, but he’ll sing it in a different voice. “Sometimes there’s so much going on in our songs," he says, "that we could release the drum track by itself and it’d still sound amazing.”