Cut Off Your Hands
The Fly
17th July 2008

The first time I saw ‘Cut Off Your Hands’ I was blown away. The New Zealanders played one of their first London shows at the The Australian Music Collective at the Camden Barfly in 2007. I never was one for geography so you work that one out.

I spotted the band out the front of the dimly lit Camden venue before the gig. The guys were swinging off lamp posts while a photographer snapped away. Later, lead singer Nick Johnston proved he’s just as much of a monkey on stage as off. He made climbing the railings and light fixtures look easy. Back then, I likened them to The Futureheads and expected them to break into ‘Hounds of Love’ at any second. This time around, I won’t do them the injustice of comparisons; these guys have become a force of their own. The female hormones inside of me also note they’ve matured in looks as well as sound. Nice, very nice indeed.

These days, Johnston is no less hyperactive and filled the small venue with his infectious enthusiasm. Personality in a frontman is important and this lad has it down to a tee. Strong riffs, foot tapping beats and memorable melodies contribute to the recipe that makes this band work.

After spending early 2008 recording their debut album ‘You and I’, Cut Off Your Hands have an impressive collection of tunes to choose from. Tours with the likes of New Zealand powerhouse Shihad, We Are Scientists and Bloc Party, ensure they’ve had enough experience on which to build a storming set. The Fly is a tiny venue and the crowd is small but packed. As ‘You and I’, ‘Oh Girl’ and ‘Happy As Can Be’ hit our eardrums, we can’t help but feel like we’re part of something special. This is Punk Pop at its finest (and this ain’t just Antipodean patriotism talking).

Intimate Cut Off Your Hands gigs like this will soon be a thing of the past; it’s enough to make a selfish music lover wish the rest of the gig-going hoard won’t catch the bug. Not yet anyway.