Every time I log on to the Wave Pictures’ MySpace, I have been greeted by the wonderfully idiosyncratic, nonsensical yet logical, lyrics of 'Strange Fruit for David': “a sculpture is a sculpture/ marmalade is marmalade/ and a sculpture of marmalade is a sculpture/ but it isn’t marmalade.”

I was very much looking forward to hearing it played at the dank cellar that is the Borderline. They didn’t play it; the profundity of the insight possibly too disturbing to be unleashed on an impressionable young audience on a humid evening. They did, however, play a set full of soul, humour and the odd great guitar solo.

Arriving with tales from the mean streets of Loughborough or thereabouts, the three man band did not appear to be in thrall of any trend that I am aware of, though that is no guide. Coming from a sleepy Midlands village, they say they were uncorrupted by the need to either compete with, or conform to, others. This isolation from urban fashions does not always make for musical purity: One Night Only live in the same Yorkshire village as my mum and dad. They seem very trendy. One Night Only, not my parents, that is.

So they concentrate on the music and lyrics. The lead guitarist and singer, Dave Tattersall, has a lilting, slightly unsteady singing style that suits the band’s short vignettes of modern life perfectly. He may not turn out be a tortured genius like Morrissey, but he has a similar eye for the mundane everyday failures and let downs that life offers: “Johnny Cash died today, and you say it’s not like Elvis.” The songs are wordy, even verbose, but this adds to a sense of observational detail. I was fairly certain this is the first time I’ve heard a list of the contents of a fridge set to music.

The set flew by, mainly as they were only on for 45 minutes, though also because there is not a mediocre song on offer. Tattersall performed the numbers assuredly, occasionally with parts unaccompanied, which underlined the vulnerability in his voice. As he lurched into guitar solos, you could see why he also performs guitar duties for Herman Dune. Some were pure Indie thrashes in the style of the Wedding Present, some were on nodding terms with Mark Knopfler or Eric Clapton while others wandered into a much heavier place altogether.

When they first walked off stage, I noticed the bass player, Franic Rozycki, who looks like a young geography teacher, put his guitar back in its case. No encore then, I assumed. But they came back and performed 'I Love You Like a Madman' ; a sad, anthemic love song in which they were joined by American singer-song writer, Toby Goodshank, who co-wrote one of the other highlights, Cassius Clay

Wave Pictures were enthralling. The quality of the song writing and the polished, restrained delivery were enough to make everyone forget dreams of escape from the fetid atmosphere in the Borderline on a steaming night.

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Commenting On: Borderline, London, 30/7/2008 - Wave Pictures

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