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Throwing distortion to the wind; Llama farmers Coventry Colosseum.

Byline: Steve Adams

Four years after being hailed as grunge-pop prodigies, the still frighteningly young Llama Farmers are in something of a state of crisis. Nothing to do with the country's current agricultural difficulties mind you, their problem is live rather than livestock.

It's all to do with dynamic. On record the band - which comprises brother and sister Bernie (vocals/guitar) and Jenni (bass) Simpson, William Briggs (guitar) and Brooke Rogers (drums) - are developing a nice line in post-grunge rock with more than a hint of care and attention given to a melody. On stage all restraint goes out the window and they become little more than a powerhouse of distortion and feedback thrash.

A huge shame because there is much to admire on last October's second album El Toppo, from solid rockers such as Snow White and Note On The Door (both thrashed to within an inch of their lives on the night), to the more refined Postcards and Moonrock (simply butchered). The disparity between recorded and live performance clearly leaves the band at a crossroads, and the direction they choose - for the most part rock or indie - will be crucial, particularly as they seem on the verge of developing a sound of their own.

While the Llama Farmers are starting to find their own voice, the even younger support act Biffy Clyro remain very much at the cooing phase. The Scottish trio's artless grunge-thrash - one minute inaudible tinkering, the next pure noize - suggested that no matter how many times they've listened to Nirvana they've never really heard it.

Steve Adams
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 26, 2001
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