CODEINE VELVET CLUB *** CLASSIC GRAND, GLASGOW
BROUGHT together through the Club Noir scene and a mutual acquaintance, Jon Lawler and Lou Hickey are perhaps not an obvious pairing to start a band together. He's the lead singer of Glasgow's ever-rowdy Fratellis, and she's a singer-songwriter of a folksier strain. Together they've started a group which aims to imagine the sound of a rock'n'roll band playing John Barry. This could go either way.
Although the whole enterprise is shot through with the spirit and style of another great side-project of recent times, Alex Turner and Miles Kane's Last Shadow Puppets, it largely succeeds on its own terms. Crucially, the combination – of Lawler's raw rocker's vocal, levelled off by arrangements best suited to a crooner, and Hickey's assuredly sensual soul style – works perfectly, and the pair have the look to a tee: he in a smart, modish grey suit and brogues; she in a vintage blue dress and a ring of chunky pearls around her neck.
The music, too, is convincing. Not every song grabs the attention, but there's enough variance in the sassy torch-singing of Vanity Kills and Hollywood, the tender balladry of Nevada and the unashamed rocking out of I Would Send You Roses (during which Hickey leaves the stage, the better to let Lawler and his five fellow players and hornsmen bash out the instrumental coda) to suggest they have legs as a singles group, at least. A closing lounge cover of the Stone Roses' I Am the Resurrection, meanwhile, is both ill-advised and admirable for its bravery.