Thursday, March 18, 2010



Funeral Party are chiefly remarkable for two things. Firstly, for seeming to believe quite earnestly that what the world needs is a slightly ill-tempered Killers. And secondly, for set closer and apparent signature song 'NYC Moves To The Sound Of LA', in which vocalist Chad Elliott repeatedly if mystifyingly claims: "New York City loves to mess around with the LA sound".

Given that they're currently supporting a band that now calls Brooklyn home and they'll soon be hitting the road with one Julian Casablancas, this could be the first shot in an East Coast v West Coast indie war. Answers as to who'll be its Tupac and Biggie on a postcard.

She bangs the drums? Well, yes, but the truth is that just now EVERYONE's banging The Drums. It seems you can hardly open a music publication or browse a website without being told in unequivocally gushing terms how they're the brightest bright young things of 2010.

If you're anything like me, then this amount of fawning adulation surrounding a band always tends to stick in the craw, meaning that I'm automatically predisposed to stand back, fold my arms and challenge them to impress me. All rather unfair, you might argue, given that responsibility for all the hype doesn't lie with them - but responsibility for being good very definitely does.

Tonight, thankfully, they are.

Listening to The Drums is like tuning in to the second half of the twentieth century as someone twiddles the dial picking up frequencies from each decade - harmonic 50s doo-wop, effervescent 60s surf-rock, taut 70s NY punk, gloomy 80s Manc post-punk jangle, self-confident 90s indie. It's a dazzling post-modern bricolage of sounds and styles - though admittedly there's nothing much new except in the mildly audacious but successful splicing of such ostensibly disparate musical threads. And yet this isn't to suggest an excessively dense quality to their music, or a sense of it being weighted down by the baggage of history and lineage - on the contrary, there's both a breezy levity and a spaciousness to their sound.

Genius single 'Let's Go Surfing' I already knew and loved unconditionally, but I had significant reservations about the rest of last year's debut mini-album/EP/call-it-what-you-will Summertime - reservations which are by and large obliterated, 'Down By The Water' and 'Submarine' translating particularly well live. And there's more to come this year, with encore-closer 'Forever' and new single 'Best Friend' both also making an instant impression.

The truth is, though, that without focal point Jonathan Pierce The Drums would be far less engaging a prospect. Of the four streaks of piss on stage Pierce is the streakiest - but he's also a fantastic frontman with a great vocal range, whipping the mic cable during 'Make You Mine', theatrically bowing and scraping through his between-song thank yous and generally dancing like Peter Crouch trying to do the robot in the style of Ian Curtis.

The Drums aren't, I suspect, a band with hidden depths, and my current lustful attraction may possibly turn out to be not much more than a one-night stand. But right now, even if you ignore all the vigorous tub-thumping going on on their behalf, it's not hard to see why everyone's dancing to their beat.

No comments: