I saw the most egotistical band in the world last night. It’s hard to top the arrogance of calling yourself The Band, but they did it; these guys call themselves The Music. Bold claim. I can’t say they entirely lived up to it.
Not that it was bad stuff, mind you. They’re unapologetic straight-ahead guitar-driven British hard rock, with a lead singer (Robert Harvey) who looks like Frodo and sounds like a youthful Robert Plant. The lead guitarist, Adam Nutter, derives his style from Hawkwind, and the rhythm section — Stuart Coleman on bass, and Phil Jordan on drums — seems antsy every time they have to slow below a hundred beats per minute. All very good and effective.
At their best moments, they have this interesting multilayered effect. Phil’s cranking out rock solid beats at a pace which threatens to overrun the rest of the band, Stuart’s hitting his notes with mechanically lovely precision, Adam’s journeying off in a completely different direction with waves of space-noise feedback, and Robert’s crooning shallow lyrics with utter conviction. The thing is, it’s like walls leaning against each other and happening to provide mutual support: they don’t seem to have any particular relation to each other, and it’s just luck that it forms a coherent whole. Maybe it’s as if the last four Led Zeppelin fans on Earth met in the ruins and decided to play a gig without rehearsing. Interesting stuff.
Unfortunately, sometimes our metaphorical walls don’t support each other and it all comes crashing down. Other times, the songs sound like they were written for no better reason than to support a cool combination of riffs and drum beats. The pieces are there, but the coherent whole can be lacking.
Then again, these guys are all under twenty, so it’s hard to fault ‘em too much. If they make it past the hype phase, they ought to be just fine. The official story is that they just randomly hooked up and formed a band out of boredom, but Robert’s voice is too good for that sort of coincidence; I suspect their metoric rise through the UK pop charts was planned. Like I said, there’s going to be a hype phase. Still, there’s also the potential for something else beyond that.
In other words, it was well worth the ten bucks.