“Don’t believe the hype,” says a Reef Younis sick of fly-by-night bands.


“Don’t believe the hype,” says a Reef Younis sick of fly-by-night bands

Quick. Quick! Ah, you missed it. Sorry. If you’re not on the scene you’re not in it because in the time it’s taken you to read this short opening sentence, an infinite number of bands and artists have hit the headlines, created a movement, quarrelled, disbanded, reformed, owned the covers and imploded all in the space of a £65 haircut, a single recorded and cut in a bedroom and a debut 15 minute set with the pound-per-minute value of a premium rate sex line. One of them might even have released an album.

It’d be easy to point the finger at social media and the ever spewing blogosphere, but the thing is, the music press (both online and print incarnations) are just as horrifically culpable, and capable, of lighting the torch paper.

Put bluntly, it’s a bit of an orgy; a big swinging dick contest to prove who can blow their load the quickest, and blindly, repeatedly spunk into the dark with relatively little care for what’s going to emerge from dimly lit corners (nu rave take a bow) or devolves into an incestuous wankfest – I’m just going to run with this analogy now – where our buzz culture has been heightened to such levels of lazy apathy that Florence and the Machine can claim a glossy cover residence off the back of a recycled Evanescence warble and an increasingly meaningless Mercury nomination.

We’ve gone from the real to the reactive; the serious to the sensationalised; the must-own to the increasingly meaningless in the relentless skirmish for ‘likes’ and unique hits with the goading acceptance that being first equates to respect and relevance, and that if you weren’t “it” the first time round, you haven’t amounted to anything remotely worthy since.

Hindsight, apparently, isn’t such a wonderful notion after all. I mean, most people would want to forget the pointlessness of Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong; the bedpan-shaped indie piss of Keane; the eternal mind-numbing blandness of The Kooks and The Twang and the clouded mumblings of Babyshambles after their front page flirtations, but in this hollow vacuum of quantity over quality and hope and hyperbole, we’re locked into a hasty, vicious cycle of boom and bust where every depression has to be filled with instant gratification.

In an accelerated world where activity is king, it makes Elbow’s gradual rise to richly deserved prominence all the greater; it vindicates The National’s slow-burning acclaim; Caribou’s consistency and commitment to evolution; Fuck Buttons’ stomping reaffirmation and Errors’ return from the dead after a 6 month ice age where they dared to record an album.

But they’re proof there are some anomalies – trilobites defying the logic that if you step off, things don’t necessarily cease, they just move a little more leisurely, and somewhere, amidst all this meaningless kitsch and bloated trash, you will find a band you’ll love and possibly even cherish. Well, until next week at least.

By Reef Younis


Originally published in issue 20 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2010

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