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Meme @ Borders Bookshop, Brighton

(18th January 2002)

You probably wouldn't expect to see interesting new bands at Borders bookshop. Especially when you notice that next week's offering is an outfit called Gareth and Adrian who apparently play "British Power Pop." In the cafe people are sitting nursing their lattes and teas and gently grazing on their new modern fiction or chosen hobby magazine. They probably aren't expecting so see an interesting new band. And they certainly don't expect Meme.

He starts by sending what can only be described as the amplification of tortured electronic devices screaming across the bookshop from his laptop. All reading suddenly stops and heads turn in disbelief towards the bloke sitting nonchalantly at the front, turning up the sound of a song that now sounds like a CD jumping.

A few people get up, clutching their paperbacks with whitened knuckles, and hastily move toward the exit in fear of ear damage. And they're right to be scared. What follows is a selection of tracks from Eudaimonia, Meme's first album, and some new and presumably unreleased tracks. Unfortunately he doesn't deem to tell us which is which but I suppose that's to be expected from a self-declared arrogant sod.

Meme is an eclectic musician, disregarding genre or classification. He has poppy side, as demonstrated by Get Together, off the album, which has a gorgeous vocal sailing above the classic distorted breaks and beats, and also by new tracks which were stronger and catchier and even more distorted. But there is a very melancholic side to Meme, and his newer tracks seem to take a very sparse electronica track, distorted down to breakup with vocals that are both powerful and intimate.

The sound is loud and the music moves forward only stubbornly. By the end he has emptied the cafe of all but the most foolhardy readers and presumably his fans. If he was trying to make new friends I think he will have failed, but if he was trying to impress, well this reviewer will look forward to more in the future. Just don't expect Borders to invite him back.

(Paul Chase)

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