As “the kids” become increasingly disillusioned with the music record companies have decided they should like, they’re getting online and finding something else. Something else, in this case, is a collision of indie, punk, electro and techno in various measures; bands like Hadouken!, I Was A Cub Scout, We Smoke Fags and Does It Offend You, Yeah?
A typical gig for any of these bands can have fans as young as eleven or twelve standing on chairs to get a proper view of the stage. This is fairly disconcerting for anyone over the age of, say, nineteen, but it does make for easy passage to the bar (once you’ve got past all the parents sipping Coke and shaking their car keys).
The best of all these bands, for my money, is Does It Offend You, Yeah? Partly because they’re all about the same age as me, which makes it easier to stomach, partly because they have a stupid name that makes you sound like a dick whenever you try to tell someone about them, but mainly because they write songs that kick the teeth off everything else that would dare to come close.
Recently expanded to a four-piece, with the addition of live drums, their sound is electronic, kinda punky and effortlessly danceable. To put it in the band’s own words, they “sound a bit like an arcade machine thrown into a lake, A ZX Spectrum in a prison shower block (That soap on the floor…? It’s a trap)”. Imagine Daft Punk or Justice with more rock, more energy and none of that repetitive dullness.
When they play live, their enthusiasm feeds into the crowd at right back out again. When I caught them at the Barfly in Camden earlier this month, so many people were leaping around that I had to wonder if we were about to end up in the downstairs bar a little sooner than planned. And that was during the first song.
By the end, the crowd were so fired up that most of them invaded the stage, bringing the appropriately-titled We Are Rockstars to an abrupt end, as the band could no longer move enough to play their instruments. The second attempt at the song ended in a cacophony of feedback as frontman Morgan Yeah was carried over the heads of the crowd and dumped onto the bar at the other end of the room. Given the quality of the show, it was very easy to forget that when I first stumbled across them on MySpace eighteen months ago, they were still a duo and had never played live.
It was while watching this that it suddenly occurred to me that Does It Offend You, Yeah? and all the other bands of their ilk are far more the natural successors to the likes of the Sex Pistols et al than those still thrashing out three chord punk and sneering. Being obnoxious is clichéd now – you could even argue that it has become the mainstream – but only in the fantasy world of tabloid newspapers was that all there ever was to punk. It was more about doing something totally different to what was otherwise on offer and having the kind of fun which that didn’t allow for. That’s what this is, except with less rebellion and spitting.
Yes, they’re rotting pop music from the inside out and when they emerge, covered in guts and slime, we shall all rejoice! Getting Death From Above 1979’s Sebastien Grainger to add vocals to the new single, Let’s Make Out has helped to push forward their cause, as have their remixes for the likes of Bloc Party and Muse. And those demos they put up on MySpace in early 2006 are still being fired across the internet with alarming regularity. When their debut album, tentatively titled You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into, hits next spring it could be what finally breaks the hold old man rock wankers like Razorlight have on UK music.
Let’s Make Out video