“If anyone here doesn’t want to see the future of music, leave now.” Not the words of a drunken Gallagher junior circa 1994 but, more worryingly the words of Sloughs latest pop offering, Brother.
As with any turn in decade, an overwhelming over use of the phrase ‘next big thing’ parades the music tabloids. So much stress is put on the industry, that one can be lead to compromise taste in a desperate attempt to avoid nostalgia. So much so, that The Darkness (remember them) achieved un-paralleled success in the early years of the previous decade, until everyone realised that they were just well; really, really terrible.
Luckily enough, The Libertines came to Britain’s aide. In direct response to The Strokes new- found glory as the world’s favourite band. Thus, Pete and Carl became Britain’s saviours from the spandex clad invalid that is Justin Hawkins and sure enough all remained well on the good ship Albion until, heroin and Kate Moss rained on everyone’s parade, subsequently forcing Arctic Monkeys to take hold of the reins as Britain’s ‘band of the noughties‘.
As Britain’s sentiment has withered over these last ten years or so, with the absence of the above bands, music fans and journalists alike have been forced to look elsewhere to get their kicks.
Last year for example, the world seemed to get caught up in the media shit-storm that surrounded The Drums, and for some time it looked like the world had found it’s ’pin-up’ band. They appeared to be the group that everyone (for the next ten years at least) were going to dress and cut their hair like until, the more fickle amongst us decided that white socks and bowl cuts just aren’t practical on a northern council estate and Blackpool pleasure beach isn’t exactly the ideal place to go ‘surfing‘.
With this in mind, Britain has turned to a band that evoke the true spirit of an era so barren of originality, that it had no choice but to be dominated by the most successful Beatles tribute act of all time (Oasis). With a seamless naivety and a worrying lack of understanding for what they are representing, Brother have thrust themselves into the media limelight with all the swagger and bravado of a Gallagher.
In their homemade video for their forthcoming Stephen Street produced album, the band parade around with guitars in front of a Union Jack wearing sunglasses indoors, whilst a naked women dances in a bath. This chauvinistic, arrogant and downright awful image represents everything that was wrong with Britpop and highlights why a return to such a period can only serve in doing more harm than it can good. Few would disagree that, any band that feels the need to affiliate themselves with a Union Jack in order to seek any real sense of identity as a British act compromise both their quality and their ideals. And quite frankly, unless you are Roy Orbison you can by no means wear sunglasses indoors and expect any credibility afterwards (just ask Glasvegas).
I realise this is largely dominated by criticisms of the bands image however, if this was to be a criticism of the bands music then very little would need to be said. As it is, as you can imagine a loutish and lethargic attempt at an anthem that bands like The Enemy and The Courteeners only as recently as 2009 have tried and failed to achieve. Both debut single ‘Darling Buds of May’ (named after the 1970’s T.V show) and album track ‘New Years Day’ boast choruses the size of Knebworth but are delivered with the conviction of a middle class twenty something from Slough …
I also realise that to give attention to bands that lack any substance and sense of reason is nothing but counter productive. But, if British music is going to respond whatsoever to the transatlantic acts that are currently dominating its music scene then it must realise that the 90’s and more specifically Britpop is not the place to source inspiration. What we can gather from Brother is the knowledge that there is nothing more un-appealing than a middle class Oasis and we can hope, just like The Darkness did not so long ago, they fade into nothingness until one day we can look back and ask ourselves ‘what were they thinking?’