We don't know why
“It’s a pass I’m afraid,” said the Domino Records PR person, and for a time, that was that. But what did we expect from a group known only as ********? Earlier this year, the elusive Edinburgh duo released their first and final album ‘The Drink’. The album’s a great dirty pint, brewed of everyday cataclysmic nuisances – sell-out shock-comedians, Christmas shopping, TV therapists, Reddit pages of recommended suicide methods, etc – that, eerily enough, manages to recall the dearly departed Mark E. Smith’s misanthropy, reinterpreted by disaffected art school yahoos.
Nevertheless, the mystery of ******** was all too tantalising, and we were more than willing to drink the long draught. The monotonous voices and hammered synthesizers of Ailie Ormston and someone named Ω betray little of their personalities beyond a disaffected smugness, largely associated with the independent music scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and the way Scots young and old generally tend to regard things down south. Naturally, we had many burning questions: who are you? Where did you come from? What’s this “New Weird Britain” thing, then? If anything, the list of questions was a sobering reminder of music journalism’s shoehorning tendencies. Maybe it was inevitable we would bring too much of ourselves to this Q&A, but only because the enigma of ******** gave us little to work with in the first place.
An hour into our disappointment, another message appeared from Domino. The duo would be happy to answer our questions via e-mail, but we readily expected another catch. “Authorship and individualism are discouraged; preciousness of ownership is challenged,” read ‘The Drink’s release statement. True to “promising and disparaging” form, all of ********’s answers here come from Gary Barlow interviews for The Guardian, The Telegraph and something called driving.co.uk.
Who can say why. It’s quite funny – especially considering it may have taken the duo longer to select and copy-paste Barlow’s answers appropriately (some more successfully than others) than to provide their own. But what could be more punk-subversive than responding to interview questions in the words of a tax dodger – or worse, a televised singing competition judge? Rightly or wrongly, we expected and hoped for some structure, condolences in a world gone to shit, if not some vague sense of solidarity from artist soothsayers. Devoid of hope, we print this Q&A as if holding fragments up to the light, hoping that Gary Barlow’s exact height might hold some deeper significance in our troubling times.