There’s just something enchanting about Brighton quartet Fur. From their retrogression music videos (the ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ parodying croquet-learning video for ‘Angel Eyes’ being a particular highlight), to their almost magical rise on YouTube, where they’ve been played millions of times and fans go absolutely bananas for them, they’ve been an utter joy to watch evolve into an indie behemoth that, genuinely, could go on to incredibly exciting things across the globe. That’s without mentioning the music, too, which has been near-perfect time and time again.
Bob Mould seems to be in celebratory mood these days. Where once, as a young adult, beset by emotional ill health problems, drug abuse, and heightened concerns for those on the edge of existence, he wrote some of the most coruscating guitar, lyric and voice combinations known to man. While he eventually found his inner bittersweet pop melodicism, he often still came screaming out of the traps. Was there a more appropriately entitled Bob Mould track than 1990’s ‘Black Sheets of Rain’?
Transformation, transition and evolution. Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad root their sound in the discomfort, woes and tribulations of their maturity; synchronised harmony in idiosyncratic disharmony with their world. A world to make you more alone – stale device, this is the world that forms their inception, to capture it musically is beautifully ironic. “The shrillness of a world so still”, this is where their truth really manifests, where they most tangibly resonate with listeners. They’ve added to their stripped-back aggravated riffs, for a fuller sound, often a fuzzy rebellion disguised as dream pop, that they’ve wrapped around themselves. A quilt of subtle punk; warm and inviting, disarming listeners, allowing them to fall in and intwine with their honest, gliding pros.
In Brighton, we’ve come to know Queen Zee as an incredibly impressive live outfit. Whether at their own headline show at The Prince Albert (we described it as, “Exciting lyrically, captivating onstage and a remarkable amount of fun”), or supporting huge bands at Concorde 2 such as Dream Wife and Marmozets, they’ve become one of the most exciting, fiery and vibrant live bands in the country. When it comes to their debut album, then, the question was always: could they replicate that sense of urgency and thought-provoking art onto a record?
The latest instalment from the psychedelic alt-rock band The Dandy Warhols ramps up the odd factor to a whole new level. Known for hits such as ‘We Used To Be Friends’ and ‘Bohemian Like You’, The Dandy Warhols have presented us with their weird and wavy sound for 25 years now. Their tenth studio album, Why You So Crazy, really captures the essence of the band’s style.
As well as the announcement of a Bloc Party UK tour that celebrates their classic debut record Silent Alarm, Okereke had also finished writing music for the stage performance he helped direct called Leave To Remain, which tells a story of the love between a gay couple in Brexit Britain. Accompanying this play, we were treated to a solo record from the Bloc Party frontman that shares the same name and essentially serves as the play’s soundtrack.
There’s fewer bands with the following and status of Bring Me The Horizon popping up in the charts these days and, whatever your feelings on their musical directions, you have to admire them for entering uncharted territories and making it work where others haven’t.
For a band that did so little, and in a very short space of time, it is remarkable that they are held in such high regard; the two-tone ska band that really meant something. Coming off the back of punk, the mixed-race Coventry band were a band deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of the UK for a couple of years; from the release of the Prince Buster-inspired ‘Gangsters’ to the epochal ‘Ghost Town’, which hit number one in the tumultuous summer of ’81, when the country was suffering from high unemployment, racial strife, and extensive rioting. ‘Ghost Town’ was to be the last song that founder members Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, were to be involved with. Immediately after appearing on the Top of the Pops stage to perform that hit, they, along with Neville Staple, told band leader Jerry Dammers that they were leaving, to form Fun Boy Three
After the release of Yak’s Alas Salvation, a record brimming with Jack White-esque riffs and frontman Oli Burslem’s distinctive howls, which we described as “The best British debut for quite sometime”, the band travelled to Australia to swiftly follow-up the record with Pond’s Jay Watson. It didn’t work out, however, and with a lot of partying had and not a lot of recording done, Burslem was stuck in Australia having spent his album budget. Thankfully, this is the start of a journey with a happy ending, which saw Burslem make his way back to the UK, resulting in the creation of their second record, Pursuit of Momentary Happiness; an at times riotous, but wholly more interesting, record than its predecessor.
Remarkably, Brighton outfit Toy’s fourth, and latest record, Happy in the Hollow, comes almost a decade since the band formed. Since then, they’ve not only grown in confidence but, musically, they’ve become much broader with a vaster outlook and back catalogue. Happy in the Hollow, their first album away from label Heavenly Recordings – they’re now on Tough Love Records – was written and produced in its entirety by the band themselves and that creative control is telling. A sonic journey through the worlds of psych, Happy in the Hollow is an experimental and diverse listen that offers more and more on each listen. For better and for worst, Happy in the Hollow is a project that could only come from Toy.