Various Artists, The Long Blondes, The Violets, Klaxons, The Vichy Government - Future Love Songs
Bill Cummings 27/11/2006
I believe I've said it before, but I'll say it again just for emphasis: the best albums by Various Artists contain a mixture of well known artists with a fair splattering of undiscovered gems for your ears to feast upon. Indeed the best ones can reflect whole scenes or inspire others to start one. The Angular records compilations of a few years ago were like treasure troves full of exciting bands and artists; they led me to discover a whole host of bands that I would grow to love in the following years. Following up their first effort “New Cross” that brought us amongst others Art Brut, and Bloc Party, and arguably the superior "Rip Off Your Labels” Angular Records present their new selection of artists “Future Love Songs” is probably not as consistently brilliant and coherant as Rip Off..., but it offers up a fair representation of the current underground indie scene, in all its schizophrenic glory, while fulfilling its criteria of unearthing those new artists who could be making a name for themselves in the next few years.
A few of the old favourites are back, The Long Blondes, whose rise in the last few years has been a pleasure to witness, contribute a slightly slower demo version of “Lust In The Movies” all catchy hooks and gleaming new wave rhythms, literate, sassy and quite brilliant: its glamourous 50's movie referencing vocals find our Kate repeatedly shrieking “I just want to be a sweetheart!!” why, in our eyes you already are Kate!
The Vichy Government, whose “I Control Discourse” opened the last Angular record, ironically provide the punkiest venom to be found on this LP: with their effort “Elvis and The Beatles” using only the lo fi weaponry of the casio keyboard and the polemic voice of Jamie Manners, incisive, witty and bitter with the world around him: his mockery consigns a whole pop history to the dustbin and in a master stroke links it all to the voiceless underclass ”Elvis and the Beatles all had sex with five year olds we don't give a shit if that actually happened or not/ it makes no difference what people get told/you'll always be a zero/unsung you'll never get off the bottom rung.” Manners has to be one of the most interesting front persons around today. While the Violets have obviously learnt a thing or two in the last few years, their previously spectral sound has progressed well: their dark Souixie and the Banshee's twitching glamour, is given new weight by a bassist, cascading whiplash guitars and a stark witchy vocal. The Klaxons pop up here too as an example of the so called “new rave” genre, the existence of which, I'm still rather dubious about, nevertheless “Gravity's Rainbow” is certainly danceable punk with a Prince-ish spirit and a filthy baseline that will probably snake its way into the pop charts eventually, whether it's the best example of this kind of sound is probably open to debate, but its certainly energetic. The fire and brimstone of The Low edges' “Leave This House” is terse and taught: enjoyable rockabilly rhythms and dark dabbing keys underpin spindly guitars and a rather entertaining vocal shot through with preacher man blues and “cha cha” full stops, a bit like Nick Cave and Mark E Smith having a tryst on Brokeback Mountain.
What of the new bands then that wish to follow in the illustrious footsteps of previous Angular stars? Well in this reviewers opinion These New Puritans are already musically exciting, whether they'll ever be commercial is a mute point, but “Tracy Enim” is thrillingly fuzzy art punk that's part scratchy danceable clicking rhythm, part intellectual distorted youth movement that's march is led by vocalist Jack Barnett. While Theoretical Girl has already attracted great reviews from GIITTV, the bedsit electro of “The Hypocrite” shows us why she's currently a name on many lips: minimal, stark, beats stutter, the dentist drill guitars scratch, while The Girl's delivery is icy cool.
While Lost Penguin's “Pleasure Woodkills” is a dizzy rush: whirling electro punk, filthy bass and a breakneck beat, its like being spun on the waltzer's whilst drinking Vimto and Vodka. Leeds's The Lodger give a good account of themselves too, their bookish, sensitive northern indie inhabits a place that will warm the hearts of fans of Hefner and the Autuers. I've heard some great things about Londoners Twisted Charm live, and they open up the album in fine style with the rather ace “Happy Alone” an elastic vocal, a furious rhythm, angular guitar shapes, and a out of bounds saxophone riding all over the place, its an enjoyable suburban commotion that hints at early Blur, I do hope to hear more from these lads. If its feminine power you're after, Wetdog's impressive “Magnet Faces” moody atmospherics, are part P J Harvey, part the Mo Dettes, pounding drums, and a vocal that cowers and coo's, its alluringly dark and DIY and all the better for it, no wonder Plan B are raving about them. Its not all great compilations always have a few tracks that you want to skip (Cause Commotion, To My Boy), and some here are just that bit too clever for their own good (Mitten), but on the whole “Future Love Songs” is another rather good compilation, that shows us yet again why Angular have their fingers on the pulse, and in many pies of the 21st century underground.