There’s a warm and homely glow to the Bodega stage tonight. Vintage lamps sit atop the amps, whilst Leicester City bunting is strung across them. Today is EP launch day for local quintet Soft Girls & Boys Club – Welcome to Soft Girls & Boys Club is now out on Phlexx Records - and to celebrate the band have brought us into their world for the evening through the medium of interior design. The boys have also dressed suitably for the occasion; lead singer and guitarist Ben Webster’s purple jumpsuit is rivalled only by bassist Luke Harley’s martial arts-inspired threads, complete with beret – big looks for a big night.
It is through an excess of wavy hair, wires and guitar pedals that the set kicks off, and straight away those renowned and infectious wobbly guitar hooks make their presence felt during Sex Music and Nonsense TV. New track Two Birds, One’s Stoned is just as powerful and funky, and a load of fun. And whilst there are a heap of bands playing good indie pop right now, and equally as many peppering that sound with elements of dreamy psych, there is something about Soft Girls & Boys Club that sets them apart. Maybe it’s their character? The massive response they’re getting from the crowd tonight is met by a genuine disarming modesty: phrases like “we’re used to about 12 people turning up” waft around between songs like trails of smoke.
But I think there’s something more. This band’s duo of vocals offset one another with divine style, with the deep and occasionally dark lyrics at odds with their chirpy, buoyant sound. As self-proclaimed creators of “happy music for sad people”, Soft Girls & Boys Club are really on to something with these frequent juxtapositions. There are further moments of triumph during tonight’s set: the glam theatrics of Treadmill, the ominous rhythmic delivery of Sertralean (a track very openly addressing struggles with depression), and the sweet, swaggering reverb rush of Baby, We All Get Lonely.
When the boys unveil smash hits Cross Your Mind and 22:22, this crowd can barely contain themselves. And at the band’s polite request, a mammoth stage invasion ensues. By the time the set draws to a close, I think I’ve cracked it - you can really hear their humour permeating the way they construct songs, playing with pitch and rhythm to provide a real respite from the daily grind. This is a band not taking themselves too seriously, but very seriously forging a fantastic sound. And one thing's for sure - it is intravenous joy.
Soft Girls & Boys Club played The Bodega on Saturday 23 March