Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Compare and contrast

One thing you'll notice we do do a lot when previewing releases by new bands is try to make some sort of connection with existing bands or genres. It's a well worn journalistic trick that while being helpful up to a point in determining whether this is something you really have to investigate tells you nothing except to reinforce the notion that modern guitar music has settled into comfy self-referencing. Ah well.

Thing is, it's got to be done right. Quite clearly Klaxons have very little in common with proper original rave music but they called themselves nu-rave to see who'd go with it, and from that we have our airwaves and minds polluted by the likes of Shitdisco, who three years ago would have been termed post-Franz post-punk revivalists and left hung out to dry. This is why we secretly love it when a review goes off on such a comparative tangent that you wonder whether someone didn't get their white label promo CDs mixed up. We've spotted a couple of top examples over the last week to demonstrate what we mean.

For a start, there's the usually great Popmatters' take on the much-better-live blues-rock'n'roll-fronted-by-Diamanda Galas'-soul-sista Noisettes album. Apparently:

The Noisettes' debut effort shouldn’t be dismissed as a turbo-charged Pipettes or a female-vocal Fratellis.

No, it shouldn't. Because they sound nothing like either. The reasoning is apparently "growled ferocity and girl-group melodies", which doesn't work either as the Fratellis don't generally do growled ferocity and the Noisettes don't do girl group melodies.

But they're North Americans attempting to get a handle on British modern indiepop culture. How very different is our own Teletext Planet Sound. Or so you'd think. This is a verbatim quote of their review of one of our favourite singles of the year so far, Foals' Hummer. Before you read on go and listen to it if it's not already bedding in as an earworm as much as it is with us, either on their Myspace or via YouTube. Done that? Right, keep all that in mind:

Getting hyped as a British take on Arcade Fire, they may share a love of heightened drama, but there's a more playful spirit here. It's as if, yeah, sure, we COULD make a song as moving as Lies, but we'd rather try to fit in some loved-up pop vibes in first, thanks.

What, Earls? WHAT? As we said at the weekend, from what we've seen Foals have been getting hyped as a British take on Battles or The Rapture (not these, then? Come on, this formed a semi-key moment in a major British music film). Heightened drama? Loved-up pop vibes? Shouldn't an Arcade Fire-esque band have some sort of strings, for a start?

Right, nobody's commented recently, so the floor is open to you. What's the most offbeam comparison you've seen in a proper printed review?

7 comments:

Scott said...

the dresden dolls often get compared to the white stripes... which is absurd...

FeedbackReport said...

The Coral being likened to Love, which I've seen more than once and find frankly laughable.

saam said...

Wasn't there a slightly off review of Hummer in the NME recently as well?

Matt said...

Every review of the eponymous Blur album which said that it sounded like Pavement. I (shamefully) didn't know much about Pavement at the time, and when I did I completely failed to spot the similarity.

Matthew said...

Christ I am worried about you reading my reviews now. Spurious comparisons are something of a given because I usually know who a group reminds me of but can never call it quite to mind, so I end up comparing them to lots of different things hoping that I'll travel in ever-decreasing circles and get there eventually.

Never works though.

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