Add N to (X) with Pony Da Look at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Tuesday (July 17). $10 door, $13 advance. 416-968-2001.
London trio Add N to (X) make earthy electronic dance music, but their sound is closer to garage rock than garage house.
Their third album, Add Insult To Injury, sounds like Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator with Man or Astroman, although the second half of the disc tends toward the electro power-rock of Trans-Am, with a dash of Air's prog pop.
Mainly instrumental, with the exception of some Speak & Spell abusing and vocoder choruses, the band narrowly escape the novelty tag by keeping it raw, bouncy and strangely sexy. OK, they probably won't be getting too much strip club play any time soon, but they have released an artsy full-length porn video to accompany the single Plug Me In.
Live, they bring out obscure analog synths and a drummer.
"It's all live -- no sequencers, computers or DAT machines," spokesguy Barry Smith says from a tour bus in France. Add N to (X) are getting a reputation worldwide for unpredictable, energetic live shows, although they've stopped throwing their keyboards into the audience.
"We're very fashionable in France right now, so we get lots of actors and models coming out so they can say they saw us, but in North America it's a more rock and roll audience."
They may make psychedelic instrumental music, but don't lump them in with the post-rock scene.
"I'm not interested in post-rock," Smith says. "Once you've heard the Cramps, it's hard to go for all that serious music. I've been getting into country lately. I've been finding some very strange psychedelic country music."
Playing at the El Mocambo July 17, the trio of Smith, Ann Shenton and Steve Claydon will be augmented by Joe Dilworth on drums. Look out later this year for a collection of early English and French experimental music compiled by Barry Smith called Connectors, featuring songs culled from Europe's libraries.