Live: Among Bouquets & Florets. Girls, HMV Forum.

Girls is a pretty unremarkable, anti-popular search engine moniker and the effects of oestrogen and other such hormones genetically associated with the female gender are of course irrevocably absent from a show that swiftly gets hotter and stickier than a precariously thawed ticker mid-cardiac transplantation. Having made the short stroll down and slight step up from selling out the Electric Ballroom to not quite selling out the HMV Forum, the pairing comprising Christopher Owens and Chet "JR" White stick with the gently superfluous all-female, all-singing, all-swaying gospel trio who, behind enough bouquets and florets to perfume the entirety of The Antlers' touring commitments for the remainder of this eternity, are as invisible as they are practically inaudible in a mix crumblier than the most arid of flowerbeds.

The girls and boys of Girls make for an off-kilter juxtaposition, the scent of which whiffs of the pandering to the expectation of spectacle engendered almost as prerequisite by the hiring out of such a venue than it may of any particular aspiration to enhance an overall aesthetic. The flowers too furnish such an impression although holy hyacinths do they smell godly. For Girls represent the sort of band impassioned fanboys long to keep tucked away beneath the sheets in which they snuggle – perhaps with their cellophane-concealed 12" of Album clutched close – as they inhabit a perennial fear that the duo may one day have a pop at cracking a bigger time. Both the Lord and they know they've now the songs so to do thus tonight's compliance with a generally accepted supposition of how such a show ought to play out appears yet more bemusing, if its crowd composition is somewhat more amusing.

Irregardless of the slush that gushes within the mildly androgynous Owens' maudlin ditties of heartbreak, forlorn downtime and general despondency – tonight delivered from beyond a wisp of bleach blonde – Girls' appeal is unmistakably masculine. And this couldn't possible be more patent than the point at which beery-eyed bromances cultivated throughout culminate in arm-entwined-around-shoulder sap to the ramshackle stagger of Hellhole Ratrace. Like they who set out on weekly scours of pubs, clubs and similar shitholes every Saturday in a primordial sort of sexual pursuit only to stumble kebab-ward with burly appendages interlinked, there's a unifying solidarity at play that's soon matched by the mawkish bumble of Forgiveness.

The sound at times reduced to an unbecoming crumple as on a gritty Vomit that throws up ineluctable parallels with both Primal Scream's Give Out But Don't Give Up and Spiritualized's Let It Come Down as the foregoing backing singers figuratively strut to the front of things, Owens' heartfelt lyricisms are largely utterly unintelligible as they drift out into irrelevance atop wafts of lily and an oppressive humidity. It's all too sweltering for all that much slow dancing although the irresistibly Costello-esque Love Like a River – harmonicas 'n' all – has Converse a-twitchin' and hips a-gyratin' to its deserted midwestern petrol station pastiche. An overflowing of emotion expressed via sonically obfuscated yet abundantly sincere pop syntax, it's an absolute stonker that belies both Owens' slackened-tied workmanlike appearance and his rather more generic slacker status.

However Girls are at their most darling when keeping their sound scuzzy and succinct as they do quite superlatively on a gloriously rackety Morning Light, and a faintly melancholic if more mentally rumpled Lust For Life and, inevitably, Honey Bunny. It's ginuwine '70s diner stuff where the employees are no longer waiting on but instead jiving atop tables and in a somewhat divergent finale, the front few rows are showered with flowers. Interchanged with an ever burgeoning acclaim, there's always another florist...