Metro Club, London, 4 May 2004
bands try to combine good old rock and roll with electronic
music but few manage to make all the elements mesh together
as a coherent, unforced whole. This is, without a doubt,
the aim of electro-rockers Chikinki. So how do the Bristol
based five-piece fare?
set starts with frontman Rupert Browne combining his soft
yet shouty vocals with some Supergrass
style theremin stroking while Boris Exton hammers the keyboards
with such ferocity you wonder whether he's keeping anything
in reserve for the rest of the night. You can tell from
the start they are just as interested in enjoying themselves
as they are in entertaining the crowd in front of them.
bass heavy, driving drums of The Way We Are give way to
the mellow fluffy twinkle of Nasty Side, living up to it's
name as the track lets rip with a rough, frantic guitar
backdrop and vocals turning from light and sweet into an
abrasive angsty yell.
restlessly between delicate and light to hard and heavy,
the skittering, almost drum and bass rhythm of the next
track is reinforced with a pounding kick drum and laid over
with punky vocals, momentarily making way for a nice harmonic
interlude before the kick comes back in. This is when their
sound works best, creating a spine tingling tune that combines
raw, ragged energy with melody, movement, rock and dance.
genre abusing continues with Browne's Peter Gabriel
styled vocals and frantic fret-thrashing coupled with growling
electronic overtones and oddball Beck-like
quirks. Chikinki don't seem to be afraid of combining machine
made beats with live drums and throwing in whatever creates
the sound they are after whether it be from guitar, keyboard,
drums or vocals. Generally, this approach works well but
at times they create such a sonic menagerie that things
can get a bit overwhelming - there is certainly nothing
subtle or understated about this hyperactive performance.
grand finale drags all of the elements of the Chikinki sound
together as Browne's vocals are splayed over insistent,
driving drums. A keyboard refrain follows, the song seemingly
over, then the music gradually swells and Browne goes to
the back of the stage to fetch a drum pad, thumping it above
his head to build the tempo back up and end the set fittingly
on an ecstatically messy crescendo of keyboard, guitar and
raw electronic noise.
the unremitting, sometimes exhausting, energy and spirit
of their live performance will or, in fact, can translate
to their forthcoming album remains to be seen but their
recent signing to a major label coupled with last month's
support stint for The Charlatans should
ensure you will be hearing much more about this lot over
the coming months.
full on performance of rabble-rousing intensity that produces
the musical equivalent of an enlivening smack in the face!
Be careful though, no one likes a nosebleed…
- Ian Roullier, 05/2004