Hello, Pure M-aniacs (yes, I’m coining that and if you don’t like it, you’re already streets behind) are you sitting comfortably? Good.
Let me tell you all a story about a little band from the faraway land of Cleethorpes, a seaside town just outside of Grimsby – Grimsby; yes, there’s a place more depressing than Slough (the word grim is actually in the fucking name and that can’t just be a coincidence) — this band is called the Brookes and they have a single called Lucy out and while we’re a little behind on the breaking news front, we have an in-depth, ball-deep analysis for you, just to set us apart from the ravenous ‘first’s you tend to see on this internet nowadays.
Lucy opens up with a Paranoid-era Tony Iommi guitar tone, a reverberating bass note and a kick thumping metronomically like the four-man rock groups of those glorious, scuzzy olden days, except with one slight difference – it’s new and it’s from the minds and fingertips of teenagers – on second thoughts, maybe that’s not all that different or new for rock, but this isn’t rock as you knew it, you see, it’s indie – rock’s entitled little brother that spends way too much time listening to what NME has to say – sure, they foray into rock, but my gut’s telling me it’s still very much indie, along the lines of (and I’m sure the comparison’s already been drawn before) Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys (not that any up-and-coming band would ever shy away from such a comparison) but I digress – Lucy’s packed full of energy and you’d expect nothing less from a group of seventeen-year-olds, in fact, if they were writing melodic folk or pan flute ambience, that would probably warrant an intervention of some sort, so leather jacket-clad rebellion and in your face, loud as fuck guitar, bass, and drum is the ever-appropriate ticket – let me talk about the vocals – Ben Keal, seemingly channelling any number of brit-pop, indie, and recent garage-rock frontmen (I hear anything from Casablancas to Doherty to Turner in this track alone, and no, I couldn’t think of anyone appropriate whose name begins with A or Z off the top of my head) however, there is something a little grittier about the vocal, and even the lead guitar overdubs, that scream rock n’ roll at me more than indie, but let’s not get caught up painting with a monochromatic genre brush — it’s a decent song with some catchy hooks, tidy musicianship, and the fundamentals there to be built upon, which I’m sure will come with experience.
Shape of You is a different beast to the amp-cranking, adrenaline-pumping eponymous track – if Lucy says ‘take it for what it is, we can rock it out as well as the next guys’, Shape of You begs you to slow down a little and appreciate the fact that these boys can really write (the calm after the storm springs to mind, but it doesn’t ring through wholly, as Shape of You is not exactly what you’d call calm so much as undulating, nor was Lucy quite the full catastrophic storm to end all storms before) – it’s a shift in mood, a shift in presence, and a shift in dynamic and personally, I think for the better, given that it has a real maturity its predecessor lacks.
You can’t go wrong with an up-tempo rocker, as long as it’s genuine enough there’s not much to fuck up, but something a little more high-concept (maybe not even remotely high-concept as Kashmir or Coma, but definitely a departure from the norm) like our second track here has a lot more on the line and a lot more room for error – it’s why a tune like Kasabian’s ‘Club Foot’ doesn’t come along too often when you can rattle out a hundred songs that you could compare the ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor’ – this is the former – well executed, thoughtfully composed, and still heavy enough that you don’t feel like a pussy listening to it on the bus cranked up to 11.
These guys are only going to get better, if you ask me. They’ve come out with a pair of solid tunes and I’m interested to hear the album, whenever it comes along – it’s a promising start, let’s see if they can build on it – I feel, however, they could be limited drawing influences from purely modern groups, there’s a wealth of depth waiting for them a little further back – as the panther once said: think punk.
Here’s directions to a taster from your corporate fruit-based overlords. Enjoy.