Bright Works are one of those bands which, on paper, shouldn’t really work, but on stage, most emphatically do.

They describe their sound as ‘mafrobeat’ – a fusion of math-rock and Afrobeat. The latter, is of course, a genre forged in west Africa, characterised by funked-up riffs, chanted vocals, ferocious percussion and intricate rhythms. It’s a sound which leached into American and European rock at the hands of Talking Heads, Paul Simon, Vampire Weekend and our very own Foals, to whom Bright Works owe a debt with their convoluted, interconnecting guitar lines and choppy time signatures. But while Foals cultivate an air of glacial cool, south Oxfordshire lads Bright Works are here to have a laugh.

Much of the band’s appeal lies in the relationship between singer Liam Amies and guitarist Pete Hughes. Pete, (incidentally, a journalist of this parish) is an axeman of great ability, though he hides his talent under a modest air of politely chipper affability which gave this headline gig at Oxford's iconic Jericho Tavern on the Friday before Christmas, the relaxed feel of a knockabout jam session.

There’s nothing ‘knockabout’ in the music though. It’s super tight; spiralling guitars weave beneath upbeat lyrics and propulsive rhythms which make it impossible to stand still. The crowd, which consists of fans, friends and members of the night’s previous bands – the acclaimed Tibetan Night Terrors, Who’s Alice and Juniper Nights – cut loose and fling themselves about with joyous abandon.

Standout tracks are the quirky, lilting Up; the plaintive Darkness, Wow; and Sikhism with its synth stabs, chiming guitars and lyrics reminiscent of David Bryne having a mental breakdown.

They are at their best when they lose themselves – Liam rocking and twitching like a crystal-meth addict on a Sunday School picnic, and Pete literally throwing himself into his guitar – kneeling on the stage, Kingston Bagpuize’s answer to Jimi Hendrix. All that’s missing is the lighter fluid. The rest of the band look on blankly. They’ve got their own jobs to do and, anyway, have seen it all before.

Despite the banter and quips (some very funny) there’s a palpable tension between Liam and Pete, which finds its release as they come face to face at the microphone, shouting into each other’s faces before turning their backs in a display reminiscent of Pete Doherty and Carl Barat – though I won’t be drawn on which is which.

An outstanding band then. Do catch them if you can.