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Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Mon 10 Apr

Unwritten Rule of Music #1: no band that sound like Black Sabbath can possibly be bad. Baby In Vain aren’t your average Ozzy enthusiasts, though, comprising three young women from Copenhagen whose unassuming appearance belies the grungy heftiness of their clout. The trio are more effective with all guns blazing (see, for instance, new single Transcendent) than with slow-burners like The Urge, to be sure. But it’s staggering to discover that of those who saw them in this very venue a year or so ago, not a single person was keen to come back for more. It’ll be a different story next time they visit, you’d hope.

Unwritten Rule of Music #2: boy bands bad, girl groups good. PINS might be a girl group, but they’d baulk at the other descriptor. “Everyone says we’re no good / We don’t do what we should,” declares the defiant chorus of Bad Things, the superb title track of their recent EP. Its status as the band’s signature song is challenged only by the ominous, predatory groove of Trouble (“You knew I was trouble”). It’s as though it was The Shangri-Las who were from the wrong side of town, rather than their leader of the pack, and were now fronted by Debbie Harry and styled by The Cramps.

PINS have been gradually making a mark beyond their native Manchester for some time now, aided and abetted by the support of the ever excellent label Bella Union – so it’s a shame that they’re arguably currently best known for Aggrophobe, which found Iggy Pop delivering a monologue atop one of their least interesting compositions. It also makes for a shaky start to proceedings, bassist Anna Donigan reading Iggy’s lines inaudibly from a notebook. More successful, though certainly no less risky, is an electro-goth cover of Joy Division’s Dead Souls – a calculated gamble that connects them to their Mancunian forebears.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Faith Holgate invites several beaming audience members up on stage to jig about to the perky pop-punk of Dazed By You at the conclusion of a set that ultimately confirms PINS’ growing reputation. “Everyone says we’re no good”? No, PINS, I can assure you they don’t.


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