charlie boyer

Sometimes all it takes is one great single and we begin to forgive British guitar bands for heading down a myriad of creative cul-de-sacs OR we find ourselves wondering whatever happened to David Devant and his Spirit Wife (and then disappointed to find ‘Cookie’ is unavailable on Mexican iTunes). Then again there is always a barrage of band names floating around like they have always been there and they generally have, friends of Toy who are friends of The Horrors and they know Noel Fielding, don’t they???

‘I Watch You’, produced by Edwyn Collins, has that retro New York in the 70s sound that doesn’t evoke Television and Jonathan Richman so much anymore as it does The Strokes. It certainly isn’t a million miles away though the voice sounds a little more crazed and less contrived. However, the disaffected video performance of Charlie Boyer does echo that detachment that so irritates those in search of good music. It worked for The Strokes for a while, it still does in terms of a cartoon image that will flog tickets on its own despite the absence of any decent new ideas for well over 10 years. East End pubs have also been mentioned in press material just to happily echo The Libertines era rather than jellied eels. The use of a cheap organ sound helps to restore some innocence or possibly reminds me of Tiger. Flipside, ‘Be Nice’, is definitely a cuter song from the title onwards though the Tiger comparisons remain for me. It also sounds a lot more C86 influenced than the a-side, just a little more self-consciously cuter. Both sound like significant departures from Electricity in our Home, Charlie Boyer’s previous band who split earlier in 2012 after a disappointing debut album.

So are we dealing with naivety or the art of knowing? The sound of the single in isolation suggests the former, perhaps we can thank the presence of Edwyn Collins for that. The live footage and videos featuring inert expressions and little movement point to the latter as does the convenient disappearance of EIOH about six months before the appearance of CBATV. I suspect that the debut single may have delivered a little too much and that there may not be a lot more to back it up with but then I am just a jaded old cynic still mystified by the commercial failure of The Jasmine Minks. However, it seems as if the advantage that CBATVs have is that they emerge at the same time as a lot of other bands tagged in a similar way: Could this be the future for British guitar bands? That has a silent ‘What’ in front of it and an additional question mark after ‘be’ for most.

childhood

Palma Violets, Savages, Childhood, Peace and Temples have been touted around as a new kind of scene along with Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs. Savages seem a little different to the vibe of the others as a harsher sound with more post-punk leanings than the other bands mentioned. Palma Violets sound like the next laddish UK indie hype but not without some merit (I have yet to work out what it is  but I like it). Their debut album ‘180’ drops in late February either giving them a head start or dropping like a stone. Childhood sound like a laid back version of early Bloc Party with a rather overused chorus pedal getting them all the usual shoegazing props. However, if that blissed out haze is your thing, then their debut 45 ‘Blue Velvet’ doesn’t disappoint and my recommendation would be to drap yourself in it, Costanza-style. Temples sound a lot like The Allah-Las and thus bring the 80s Paisley Underground to mind. I’m not entirely sure about Peace though – typically this is the only one of these bands signed to an old-fashioned major label thus far. Boy do they look young and why does their ‘Bloodshake’ video remind me of Soda Stereo’s ‘De Musica Ligera’? The one where they look a bit like later 80s Goths who prefer lipstick to the Nephilim’s flour – don’t ask if you don’t know and you probably don’t want to know. If you do know, then you know what I mean. Anyway, Peace suggest that a Gene Loves Jezebel revival may be afoot or possibly Pale Saints. That could be interesting for anniversary tours as one of GLJ’s ex-drummers has since become a primary school teacher obsessed with dolphin songs and Damian Marley. Good luck with that! However, the latest 2013 track from Peace, ‘Wraith’ suggests they may have had their ears bent by someone in search of a bit more crossover and thus to me they sound lost inside corporate hell. Take some advice from Death Grips, boys. (For further details: https://tuppencedylan.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/death-grips-epic-cock-saga/)

temples

At the end of this little run through the ‘new’ sounds of 2013 it seems just like the emergence of Ride, Chapterhouse, Pale Saints, Spirea X et al in the early 90s. Similar comparisons might be made to the first crop of bands that acted as a backlash to Britpop. What goes around comes around. The Strypes seem to think everyone may have forgotten what early Beatles looked and sounded like or early Stairs or even The Coral. Just like most movements or scenes rather than individual bands, it seems hard to see where the truly earth shattering music will come from. In most of these cases, it has already been made and the scene just follows it. Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs have a good idea but can they run with it over an album? I guess this question will be answered in May when their debut album, ‘Clarietta’, drops. I sincerely hope it’s considerably better than the Electricity in Our Homes debut from a year ago.

Needless to say, preparing this article has already led to two further downloads from among the new talent on offer. this always seems to happens to me as I guess, at heart, I’m a scene sucker who doesn’t learn from his mistakes but does still have a soft spot for David Devant and his Spirit Wife and the way they seemed to mould late 90s Camden indie and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Scenes become all image, sucking the very life from the music if there ever was any life there to be had. That’s why I’ve gone with actual record sleeves for artwork rather than group pictures that really could be anyone from the past 20 years or so. The same can so often be said of the music as some are excited by a new Wild Beasts album this year, I just wonder if it will sound a little less like Geneva and Savages sound amazing and yet very familiar. I can find great enjoyment in The History of Apple Pie album I am about to download but little originality (it sounds like Asobi Seksu who sounded like Lush), maybe it was always this way and age and experience just serve to educate a previously raw palate OR its best to just enjoy music made in the right spirit without worrying too much about whether it is derivative or not but then again, backing either attitude 100% would lead to a very dull collection of music.

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