Songs about crooks and bastards from a Nottingham band informed by Simon & Garfunkel, "downer shit" and a commitment to keep changing
Chris Bailey has figured out how to be himself. The frontman of Nottingham band Do Nothing, who are set to release their debut EP early in 2020, might have taken the long route to arrive at this point, but the British guitar music firmament had better steel itself for his impact.
“In the past I’ve tried to be something else, I’ve always tried to emulate something that I like,” he tells me. “But there came a certain point when I just started doing exactly what is me. We used to play quite complex music, but I just wanted to do something a bit more minimalist, that just had the ingredients that it needed and left a bit of space. And then later on you can add some fucking bells and flowers and shit when you’ve run out of simple things to do.”
If ‘LeBron James’, the lead track from the EP, is anything to go by, then Do Nothing are not quite the simple band that he makes out. Kasper Sandstrom’s guitar is clipped and chirrupy, slick and abrasive in alternating turns, grounded by the devious post-punk groove of Charlie Howarth’s bass and Andy Harrison’s drums, over which Bailey scatters a flurry of spoke-sung attack lines, a stream of non-sequitur exclamations. It is a wry, knowing track that side-steps the obvious confrontations of punk, detouring with unexpected left turns just when you feel you are getting a grasp on their character. As breakout songs go, it is a slam dunk.
The strangeness that lies at the heart of the track is no accident, and what’s more, Bailey suggests that this is just the start. “In the future, I don’t want this band to be exactly what it is now,” he explains. “I want to have room to make something a bit more experimental. So that’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to give enough indications so that when we get a bit weirder in the future, people aren’t saying, ‘what the hell is this?’”