A crop of the UK’s buzziest new artists have sprung up from the #trendy depths of South London in the past 18 months; some are eccentric, some ghoulish, and then there’s The Rhythm Method, a couple of savvy-looking geezas armed only with hairdressing scissors and a wry wit that indie music hasn’t seen in years.
Moseying into the hall at Norwich Arts Centre, where the duo made their fine city debut at the end of August, finds a scene that’s, er, less than swanky. ‘Chin Up’, the band’s semi-novelty World Cup single, was ‘a bit of a laugh’ when pubs were still crammed to bursting and you couldn’t leave the house without some clown chanting ‘it’s coming home’ right in your demasculated little face. But maybe that’s just me. Eight weeks on in a more-empty-than-full church hall, it’s not just heartbreaking, but downright fucking abysmal. Like if Santa didn’t leave you any presents, he just pissed all over your Christmas tree then came back at Easter to taunt you about it.
From there it’s all up-hill though, don’t get me wrong. ‘Something For the Weekend’ goes down an absolute treat with its gloriously catchy sung-spoken lyrics, easily one of 2017’s most underrated gems. The lo-fi shimmers of ‘Party Politics’ are irresistibly dancey. Like a boozy dad doing karaoke, vocalist Joey paces nonchalantly up and down the stage making fantastically deadpan remarks between songs (“This is a quiet one. If I hear anyone speaking I’m gonna come down there and make you eat your shoes”) and curiously robotic arm motions during. If any other act were playing, the atmosphere would be painful miles beyond awkward, but not for these guys. The dry smirks from both lads are all part of the glorious show, while the music references a host of metropolitan influences, from Pet Shop Boys to Madness to Mike Skinner and The Streets.
After a mere 30 minutes the duo wind down with ‘Local Girl’, a twinkly number about Wetherspoons romance (complete with a snippet of Robbie Williams’ ‘Rock DJ’, because why the fuck not?) and for an encore ‘Home Sweet Home’, a joyous ode to their London digs, or as Joey puts it, “our home town, which is a shithole”. I can see how it would be easy to dislike The Rhythm Method, with their bleak elocution and car boot sale backing tracks. But find the funny in what they’re about and it’s even easier to fall absolutely in love with them.