NME AWARDS TOUR, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 28 March 2014

The NME’s annual four-band tour is a useful way of taking the temperature of alternative music. Past line-ups have exposed future giants (Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys and Florence Welch have all served) but the music mag’s tastemakers don’t always select a bumper crop.

This year wasn’t a vintage one, with a bill topped by a big act on the fade — intense New Yorkers Interpol — and three newer names that probably won’t take over the world.

Liverpool’s Circa Waves were jolly enough, and Royal Blood made a mighty noise with just bass and drums. Neither sounded like the future.

Temples seemed to exist purely so that Noel Gallagher would have another band to bash on about. Naturally they looked and sounded like they’d been thawed out from the Sixties. Their time-capsule psych-rock occasionally soared but more often drifted on past.

Interpol will release a fifth album later this year but packed their set with songs from their first and second. Three new tracks included My Desire, with a snaking guitar line and loud, dense climax, and All the Rage Back Home, abandoned once before revealing itself to be their catchiest tune in some time.

If the new material doesn’t lift them back to indie rock’s peak, they can take comfort in the fact that there wasn’t anyone else here to take their place.