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Friday, April 17, 2009
On the MySpace page for The deBretts, a new four-piece band from London, there's a photo of lead singer Vonnie in a black chiffon dress sitting on a toilet in what looks like a public rest room.
The picture offers an interesting contrast: Vonnie may dress like a debutante, but decorum goes out the window once she gets on stage and starts throwing herself around like a rag doll in a clothes dryer. It's the kind of thing that gets you noticed, and without the benefit of an extensive catalog — or any catalog, for that matter — the band have been asked to open for some influential and successful acts including Noisettes, Futureheads and Mystery Jets. The consensus in the British indie-rock press is that they blow the headliners off the stage — but the British indie-rock press always says things like that. Potential fans in Japan have an advantage in that the group's debut album, "The Rage" — yet to be scheduled for release elsewhere in the world — has just come out in advance of their first tour here.
Vonnie definitely earns the Siouxsie Sioux and Karen O comparisons she frequently attracts, but it's the band's tight dance punk that connects more directly. Recalling the minimal guitar funk of the Au Pairs, The deBretts' sound is more exciting for what it leaves out than what it makes use of. Of course, when you've got only four members and one of them doesn't play an instrument, leaving things out is the best way to ensure a coherent sound between CD and stage. Besides, if you've got what it takes, you can make up for anything on the night.
The deBretts play April 22 at Harajuku Astro Hall, Tokyo (7 p.m.; ¥3,900;  3462-6969); April 23 at Tightrope, Nagoya (6:30 p.m.; ¥3,000;  242-8557); April 24 at Clapper, Osaka (7 p.m.; ¥3,000;  6213-6331); April 25 at Zink, Kobe (5:30 p.m.; ¥2,500;  452-1009); April 26 at Club Lizard, Yokohama (7 p.m.; ¥1,500;  663-4755); and April 27 at Drunkard's Stadium, Minami Kashiwa, Chiba (6 p.m.; ¥2,000;  7199-2751).