Sunday, November 08, 2009

Noughties By Nature #32: The Bobby McGee's - Ivor Cutler Is Dead

Although originally called No Friends it seems entirely appropriate that the opening track to The Bobby McGee's’ first EP should lament the recent death of one of Britain’s finest poets, musicians and gentlemen; fitting because The Bobby McGee's are akin to, and yet somehow simultaneously absolutely nothing like, Ivor Cutler. They’re alike because, as Ivor Cutler Is Dead attests, when they want to they can channel the same sort of charm, tenderness and beauty that even when singing about depression and loneliness can be warmly comforting. But they’re different because it’s difficult to imagine Cutler lamenting his solitude with such direct, astute, open-hearted melancholy, vocalists Jimmy and Eleanor playing two Smiths-loving hopeless romantics doomed to a life of arrested development and unrequited love. No wonder they’re the inventors and embodiment of tweecore (not in the Los Campesinos!-referenced sense of mixing indie-pop with hardcore metal, but in the sense that they’re just very, very twee), seeing as their lyrical Peter Pan complex – where the hallmarks of close companionship are sharing drinks and watching Top Of The Pops together – is a lot more disarming than it is cloying or mawkish. This cutesy ditty plays the Jekyll to the Hyde of some of their more boisterous songs – Billy & Tracey and Molly’s Lips, off the same Yes Please! EP, have the chorus “Fuck you!” and “Kill yourself!” respectively – but like a sigh can replace the need to scream it dissolves the desperation and yearning of its content to become almost anthemic; all this despite being a tranquil campfire song accompanied by the band’s trademark lilting ukuleles. Jimmy says it’s the best song ever written, because his mum says so – she’s definitely got an ear for a tune, then.
Thomas Blatchford

[EP: The Bobby McGee's? Yes Please!] (Also on their Myspace as No Friends)

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