Posts from 2nd August 2002

2
Aug 02

BREAKFAST OF BANALITY 9: THE JAM – Start

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 611 views

A repeat turn on I Hate Music for this plagerised pile of pap, and just a minor one really since both Jam and Start are breakfast foodstuffs. Jam obviously, crushing fruits with lots of sugar to create a bastardised lumpy non-alcoholic version of cassis. Start was a breakfast cereal from the eighties which was fortified with vitamins and minerals (for which read sugar) and had Steve Cram on the cover. Steve Cram is an athelete whom I admire intensely since he has never – to my knowlege – ever committed a single moment of music to recorded history. Unlike say sports stars like Glenn Hodlle, Chris Waddle, John Barnes, John McEnroe or the man with a zebra crossing on his head Pat Cash (I wouldn’t mind crossing him – with a steam roller).

I have gone into some depth as to why Start in particular out of the sludge pit that was the Jams numbers is particularly poor – unsurprisingly this rests on it being completely plagiarised from The Beatles. Nevertheless any opportunity to remind ourselves that before Paul Weller was the leather faced fool he is now, and even before he wore two tone shoes and got mud (rightly) slung at him in the Style Council – he was in The Jam. A band who, lest we forget, took all the good things about punk (being from tiny villages in Surrey, being so bad you never got played on the radio) and turned them into adverts for a reasonably enfranchised youth. Going Underground eh? Proper punks couldn’t afford tube tickets. And how dare he talk about the dreams of children? My dreams were full of happiness, item one being Paul Weller being run over by his own lambretta as he wrestled to get out of his Parker. At least I know Bruce Foxton would now be laughing along.

(People looking for the long lost Week Fourteen of olde reckoning I Hate Music can also follow this link to find it).

THE RAPTURE – “Olio”

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 352 views

THE RAPTURE – “Olio”

A trick that’s sometimes served me well: you look for the similarities in things that you’re told are different and you look for the differences in things you’re told are the same. Or to put it another way – just because a band has good bassline and a skronky guitar doesn’t mean you have to mention the dour old Gang of Four. Douglas Wolk’s New York Scene article (linked below by Alex) was great on the one hand – I also want people to hear and dance to this fine new music – but a little defeatist, too, critical shoulders stooped under the weight of a twenty-year-old party he wasn’t even at!

So let’s look for the differences: one obvious thing to say about the new ‘post-punk’ – which Simon Reynolds almost says in this month’s UNCUT – is that there’s no ‘punk’ for it to be ‘post’. This lack of roots might be a disadvantage, it might not; it’s too soon to know. My hunch is it opens things up more – the best tracks from the new ‘scene’ might fit nicely into a 1981-themed disco but they don’t sound to me like they would have been made then. Like The Strokes, or Electroclash, the Rapture sounded not-quite-familiar when I first heard them (“House Of Jealous Lovers”, dropped into an electropop set at Glastonbury, no post-punk antiquities in sight). I could hear what they were doing but I was enjoying myself too much to put a name to it. Retro (Not Retro)!

“Olio” you might hear, and sigh and say “It sounds like the Cure”. Or, better, you might smile and say “It sounds like Robert Smith singing over a lost Trax Records groove”. And then you think – well, I’ve not heard Robert Smith sing Chicago House before, what’s it actually like? Well: it sounds lonely and uncomfortable. I feel slightly irritated, embarrassed by this wailing – and the music pulses quietly on behind, as if it’s trying to ignore the singing. There was a similar disconnect in “House Of Jealous Lovers”, an undercurrent of lost-in-the-disco panic as the groove bucked and surged under the singer – here, in a song with much less joy, it becomes explicit. Personally, I’d like the joy back again, but I’m prepared to wait the dread out.