Robots In Disguise / Sicknote:
Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach, 01/06/08

Sicknote. The name makes you think of the dourest kind of hardcore punk, sour-faced bruisers who, a century ago, would probably have been informing Emma Goldman that it did not behoove a revolutionary to dance. The reality, thankfully, is less joyless, more danceable. They've got dancers tricked out in kilts and masquerade costumes, and they play a kind of whacked-out electro-punk that's impossible to stand still to, with ramble-rant vocals bringing to mind local weirdos Gindrinker and ace underrated early-00's nutjobs The Statementallity*.

Although the place is only half-full, there's still an almighty rush towards the stage when Robots In Disguise get up on it. They've got an irresistibly charming onstage dynamic - Sue playing the ice-cool rock queen while Dee bounces around like an overexcited schoolgirl - that belies the feral hyperactivity of their music. Most of the set's culled from Get RID and We're In The Music Biz, so no "Boys" or "DIY" (boo), but the lustful rampage of "The Sex Has Made Me Stupid" and the pogo-inducing frenzy of "We're In The Music Biz" and "Turn It Up" more than make up for it. In lesser hands, tracks like "Don't Copy Me" and "I Live In Berlin" might descend into one-note hipster-baiting, but the Robots infectious enthusiasm and lyrical bite lifts them right up.

Only one sour note tonight, and that comes in the form of a frankly rubbish heckler yelling abuse at fans in the front row because they're getting more of the band's attention than he is. I mean, come on - "His hair's gay, he looks like your boyfriend!" Not exactly Oscar Wilde, is it? Thankfully, he's gracefully ignored.

There's a pantheon of gleefully bitching, brilliant racket-making girl duos out there, ranging from Electrocute's scuzzy electro-filth to the almighty Shampoo. And on tonight's evidence, Robots In Disguise fit right in.

Jess Trash

* Yes, it's meant to have two 'l's in it.