MOMMY AND DADDY with EYES LIKE KNIVES at the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), Friday (May 13), 9 pm. $10. 416-531-5042. Rating: NNNNN
The White Stripes and Death From Above 1979 proved you don't need more than two people to rock the house, but New York City's Mommy and Daddy are showing that you don't need drums and guitars either.
Don't believe it? Just check out their explosive Fighting Style Killer Panda (Kanine) EP, on which the delightfully confrontational bass and synth duo of Ed Hallas and partner Vivian Sarratt kick out the post-punk jams with a hyperactive sense of fun.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark may have pioneered the whole synth 'n' bass performance concept, but the luverly Liverpudlians never pummelled like Mommy and Daddy.
"Well, I was never really into OMD, and I don't think Ed was either," chuckles Sarratt at the suggestion that they've been cribbing ideas from 80s synth pop bands. "Hang on... nope. He's shaking his head, definitely not. Ed was always into the New York hardcore scene, particularly the Cro-Mags and Youth of Today, and I liked Dag Nasty and Minor Threat but was never really down with the male aggression thing.
"It's funny. When we started making music together, the sound was much more minimal. We were both listening to a lot of Low, and I was writing all these slow, sad introspective songs. And around 2002, we began seeing all these amazing bands like the Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Gossip, who really blew us away.
"We wanted to do something with that kind of energy, and seeing the Gossip - just three people and only one guitar - made us feel like we could do it ourselves."
Evidently, there was never any serious thought of adding a drummer to the mix. Guitars? Who needs 'em?
"We had one practice with a friend of ours who's a really great drummer, but it sounded like crap. Immediately, everything got more organic and loose, which is the opposite of what we're after; we want things really tight. And anyway, we travel around in Ed's mom's station wagon, and there's no room for drums - they take up way too much space.
"We haven't totally ruled out using guitars - there are some guitar parts on the new album. And I'm not against using some percussion. If Will Ferrell were available, we'd definitely let him play cowbell with us. More cowbell!"
Considering the growing interest in Mommy and Daddy, Ferrell may have to take a number for that cowbell gig.
Their forthcoming album, Duel At Dawn, is scheduled for release in late August on the Brooklyn-based Kanine label, which just cut a distribution deal with Fontana/Universal. Mommy and Daddy are being primed for next-big-thing status.
"Our relationship with Kanine is great. It's just like us, actually. The label is run by a couple out of their home in Brooklyn. So this is all something being done between friends, and we'd like to keep it that way. We control all the artwork and have a lot of say in what goes on, which is great.
"If things get too big, where lots of other people are involved, we could lose our direction. As for goals, our whole idea of starting a band - as opposed to just playing in our bedroom - was to inspire other people to form their own bands and perform. Right now, we just want to get out there and play."