This whole indie thing’s been pretty popular for a couple of years now, whereas ten years ago, Britpop was fading into a mess of cocaine and shit bands more interested in looking good than producing exciting music.
Is the situation any different this time round? The View‘s recent success has shown that the public’s appetite for new guitar heroes is stronger than ever, but there’s a hell of a lot of dull dross out there as well. The Libertines have plenty to answer for – they inspired a generation of grubby little oiks to pursue their dreams, but consequently, the trademark rattling sound and scraggy hooks are everywhere.
So, The Holloways and The Wombats then. Yep, they’re what you’d call ‘post-Libertines’ bands, but in this case you really shouldn’t let that put you off. In order to stand out from the ever-growing crowd, groups like these need that elusive weapon: good tunes. Without them, both bands would just be a dishevelled, derivative waste of time. They’re not.
There’s more to The Holloways than the incredibly infectious, borderline-infuriating Generator- from the sweetly romantic anthem Two Left Feet (with added fiddle) to the pounding powerhouse Dance Floor.
Debut album So This Is Great Britain is the thrilling sound of disaffected youth having the time of their life, and transfers well to a sweaty club. Sure, they ain’t reinventing the wheel, but they’re genuinely entertaining, and sometimes that’s all you need. Rock’n’roll shouldn’t always be po-faced, and tonight the guys from, er, Holloway manage to put a smile on everyone’s face.
The Wombats hail from Liverpool, and trade in Scouse wit rather than ragged cockney charm. Their sound owes more to Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs than Pete and Carl, all angular riffs, “woo-hoos” and classic pop choruses.
Forthcoming single Backfire At The Disco is an absolute gem, by far the best song of the night and one that could well see them make their first serious dent on the charts. Nothing else in their repertoire quite matches up to that, but they knock out a whirlwind half-hour set of relentless fire and energy with such panache that the sense of the big-time beckoning is inescapable.
Originality isn’t everything in this game, and tonight’s packed-out gig proves that if you’ve got the tunes and the attitude, there’s plenty of kids out there willing to listen.