Houdini Dax - BBC Live Sessions EP

Owain Paciuszko 27/02/2010

Rating: 4/5

Opening with chops of outtakes before lurching into the spangly retro pop-rock of Robin You Lie there's a clear and intentional The Beatles vibe to their approach, with Hey Bulldog-like hollering occuring throughout the song. Fortunately, when not distracted by this, there's fun to be had in the song with its impressive guitar noodling and beefy, clattering sound.

Fizzy Moon fares better, a Horror show slice of quirky psychedelic pop, which sounds like The Victorian English Gentlemans Club covering Steve Harley. Jack Butler's dry, eerie vocal is a superb contrast here to the raucous guitars and splashy drumming. Mr. Pascoe has a quainter The Kinks feel to it, especially with its lyrical refrain of 'Here's Mr. Pascoe...' driving the song like many a Ray Davies composition. Surprisingly though Houdini Dax manage to get away with this most obvious, and challenging, of comparisons, the song barrelling along pleasantly, much like the following 'bonus' track Struggling in the Sand which has some excellent backing vocals.

What's most impressive about Cardiff's Houdini Dax is that they seem to be deliberately attempting to fill some very big boots, and find the size a pretty good fit. How their misty nostalgia will fare in future releases is something I eagerly await.