Gig review: Paul Smith & the Intimations, Glasgow

King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow. Picture: TSPL

King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow. Picture: TSPL

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LATER this year, Maximo Park embark on their tenth anniversary tour. Yes, we’re marking tenth birthdays now, such is the marketing pull of an anniversary.

Paul Smith & the Intimations

King Tut’s, Glasgow

***

But in the meantime, the band’s hyperactive frontman Paul Smith is on the road playing material from his more considered indie pop solo endeavours, Margins and new album Contradictions.

Accompanied by quietly confident three-piece The Intimations, the sound, tone and mood was more mellifluous, less brash and manic than Maximo.

Smith paid tribute to the (seemingly subtle) influence of Teenage Fanclub and The Pastels, though Prefab Sprout, fellow pop romantics from the north-east of England, made more sense as a reference point.

There was a distinct 80s leisurely warmth to the guitar effects on Coney Island, while Fill in the Blanks began with typical doe-eyed indie yearning and ended with some heroic Tom Verlaine-influenced guitar wrangling.

The group tore through Dare Not Drive with a Krautrock momentum but, elsewhere, the set was more casual in execution, with Smith taking advantage of the intimate atmosphere to get conversational and improvisational – the latter involving a burst of Sultans of Swing – and to restart a couple of songs when he fumbled a lyric.

The music was consistently engaging rather than arresting, with no sonic stand outs, not even I Haven’t Seen Her In Ages, the token encore track by Smith’s “other band”, but his personable presence and spontaneity held the show together and kept the atmosphere buoyant.

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