It’s Halloween night, but there are no spooky shenanigans at Yes this evening. The most interesting guitar band to emerge in a good few years are here to do their post-punk/goth/shoegaze/britpop/grunge thing and there’s no time for messing about. Despite being around for around 4 years now, there’s still an element of the unknown to bar italia. They were the first non-Dean Blunt music to be released on his World Music imprint, and up until the start of this year when they signed with indie darlings Matador, no press photos or even names were attached to them. That all changed with the release of the thrillingly cool ‘Tracy Denim’ album early this year, an LP they will follow up with their second full release of the year this Friday – prolific output for a once ‘mysterious’ band. Let’s be honest, the back story (or lack of it) is part of the reason why they’re cool as fuck, alongside their nonchalance and their ‘every-guitar-based-genre-going-mashed-up’ sound (although in a recent Guardian interview, their first, they bristle at the ‘guitar band’ tag). After a sold out gig at Soup earlier this year, they’re back at the bigger and equally sold out Yes on the eve of the release of said second album in a year, ‘The Twits’.

We now know bar italia to be made up of Jezmi Tarik Fehmi, Nina Cristante and Sam Fenton, who come on stage accompanied by a couple of other musicians to bulk out the sound. Cristante is centre, flanked by the lads, but they’re all equally up front – each shares vocal duties across their songs, their distinct tones lending different textures to each track. Fenton has a soft drawl that reminds me of Christopher Owens from Girls, Cristante has that flat, disinterested thing going on that sounds unbelievably cool, and Fehmi has more of an individual yelp that adds urgency to songs like ‘Nurse!’, particularly as they are crescendoing.

The no messing about thing is very real. They’re on stage, they’re doing their songs, and there is zero chat or interaction. It reminds me of the early days of The Strokes when their icy demeanour made them the most clamoured after band of the era, kind of untouchable in their cool. This makes for a slightly detached performance that is very icily chic, but can make it hard to connect to. This, combined with a setlist that is heavy on unreleased material from the new album, sees my companion for the night zone out, unimpressed by the aloofness. For me, however, it’s what is attractive about them; I want my bands to be performance art basically, and their dispassionate delivery really does it for me.

Some of the new songs have a dirgey, Josh Homme thing about them, a grungy groove that the band settle into and wade around in, mesmerising to get lost in. They hit a particularly rich vein of this in the middle of their set, and it’s got me completely locked in. I can’t pull my attention away from the stage despite there being very little going on in terms of stuff to watch; it’s just a sound that properly intoxicates me, makes me buzzy. Guitar music can be a dirty word these days, and lord knows there are a load of landfill bands bringing the term a bad reputation. But every now and then a band like bar italia comes along and shakes things up, not by necessarily doing much new, but by combining so many influences into a sound that is more than the sum of its impeccably sourced parts. Just one thing: don’t call them a guitar band, yeah?