It takes a lot of balls to name your band with a reference to The Fall. These New Puritans (apparently abbreviated to TNPS, though I prefer the simpler ‘Turnips’) have done just that and after they were featured in the Guardian the other day, I thought I’d check them out. You know, see whether they live up to their name.
The answer is: no, they don’t. They’re basically a mixture of Franz Ferdinand and The Klaxons – and not the best bits of either band, for that matter. I’ve been intrigued by several newspapers and websites referring to them as actually sounding like The Fall. I figure this was more lazy journalism than impossible fantasy: These New Puritans have nothing of Mark E. Smith’s vitriolic wit or poetry, let alone a proper-sounding jangly guitar. In Numbers, the lyrics go “What’s your favourite number? / What does it mean? / Number 1: the individual / Number 2: duality / Number 3: …numerology is all shit”. Talking about the song, lead singer Jack Barnett says, “It’s our attempt to recreate numerology in a song. It’s a pop song with a dubby beat. But I say “numerology is all shit”, so it’s all deconstructed immediately”. Hmmm.
Anyway, here’s Elvis, another of their songs.
Pop music can be a difficult terrain to navigate: just what do you feel okay listening to, and can you admit to it? This issue is at the heart of dozens of websites (like myspace.com and last.fm) and grips millions of young people searching for their Pan.
Myself, I pretty much decided that I’d stick with Royal Trux about seven years ago. For me, their blend of free jazz, 70’s opiate-rock, RnB, boogie-woogie and smart, personal, witty, political lyrics was enough. Despite my liking for bands such as The Fall, I am still certain that Royal Trux sum up what it is I want pop music to be: cool, sexy, angry, bored, wasted, wise.
Neil Hagerty, one half of Royal Trux is my first pop music hero. He was a guitarist in Pussy Galore, a band now confined to the ‘most mental album I own’ category (a bit like Royal Trux?!)… and while I’m unsure as to how much influence he had on the values of that group, I’m aware that he was behind their covering the entire Exile On Main Street album. A declaration of intent, perhaps.
Through their albums, Royal Trux have covered enough material for a complete website or two (see the links in my sidebar). Suffice to say, I drank a bottle of vodka the night they broke up. Stupid of me. It should have been juice. Since then, Neil Hagerty has released a series of albums (firstly solo, now with The Howling Hex), all of which I’ve found to be entertaining, challenging and good pop records. My favourites are probably the two solo/band crossover records, Niel Michael Hagerty – The Howling Hex and The Howling Hex – All Night Fox. Continue reading Neil Hagerty, Ian Svenonius: Two pop music heroes you may not know but, like, should