Scouting For Girls, Hoxton Bar and Grill

If you like your pop with a retro twist, killer hooks, a bit of cheek and a splash of scouting nostalgia, this trio are definitely the way forward.

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Date: 15 May 2007 | By Russell Powell | Rating: 3-5
Scouting For Girls, Hoxton Bar and Grill

London's Hoxton Bar and Grill provides a somewhat more than ordinary venue for a gig. The live area feels like a secret garden tucked away behind huge wooden doors, like a walnut within the proverbial whip that is the bustling exterior of the bar.

This inner sanctum is initially brought to its knees by unsigned troubadour Russell Joslin, an artist with songs so raw and powerful they induce both goose bumps and a temporary state of mild paralysis as the minute crowd are captivated, mesmerised and spellbound all at the same time. Sounding like the lovechild of Ray LaMontagne and Joe Strummer kicking the shit out of a Damien Rice track, this is passionate, heart-breaking, soul-spilling music that will hopefully be unleashed on the public very soon.

In a completely different, much more upbeat, vein, Scouting For Girls take the stage. Full of cheek and charm they provide sing-a-long, radio friendly gems that are as infectious as chicken pox in a nursery, and as irresistible as Michaela Strachan (the object of the bands affection on track 'She's So Lovely').

Drawing on influences such as Sixties pop, and more contemporary artists such as Belle and Sebastian, leads the band to create humorous, catchy and unforgettable nuggets of retro-pop genius.

For a band that have only been signed a little over five months, Scouting For Girls are ruthlessly polished on stage, but interject tracks with in-jokes about He-Man and becoming the next James Bond (both of which provide subject matter for tracks), which detract from any pretension you could perceive and make them instantly likeable.

If you like your pop with a retro twist, killer hooks, a bit of cheek and a splash of scouting nostalgia, this trio are definitely the way forward.