Sometimes we wish we could simply write something like, “Want to hear the 2012 version of Haircut 100?“, and be done with it. It would make our life so much easier, give you enough context, cut out the endless hyperbole and take far less time to digest. However, with every new band there will always be talking points, hidden histories and opinions that we believe are just as important to give you a detailed framework, but most importantly it is this that gives The Recommender it’s ‘voice’. We don’t want to be just another blog, posting the same artists and giving one little line of reference, as we can’t imagine why you would come back here as opposed to other sites. It’s our voice that makes us different and that can only come through in our editorial. So where do we start with today’s recommendation? Well, there’s definitely an easier short version. Want to hear the 2012 version of Haircut 100?
Half Brighton-based and half based in London, we welcome to The Recommender’s pages, My New Favourite Tribe. They’ve been kindly handed to us by their new manager, Bee Adamic, a friend of ours in Brighton who is busy carving out a name for herself in the band management scene. She adopted the band from another manager, Tommy Lee, known locally as the person who initially helped the rapid rise of another Brighton band, Cave Painting. With Cave Painting signed to EMI and hitting the road touring the UK Tom sadly couldn’t continue to give My New Favourite Tribe the time they deserved. His loss is definitely Bee’s gain, as this is a band that would potentially have been another clever success on his roster, but as with all emerging bands only time will tell if shipping out the old and bringing in the new will inject the required momentum.
This theme of evolution continues with their music, as the tracks previously available upon their Soundcloud page seemed to wallow in the old school genre of 80s new wave, but their latest track, which they’ve given to us as an exclusive, is busy injecting a lot more 2012 into the mix. The trio also have contemporary links with today’s music scene, as their bassist, Saul Blumberg, used to be in Yuck - his brother, Daniel Blumberg is still with them. Additionally, the guy responsible for all the synths and drum-machined beats, Jackson Holmes, is also known across the genre waters as the solo post-dubstep and future-garage producer, Danglo, who has notably completed some recent work alongside Abi Wade. It all seems a little disparate, as we could easily reference 80s bands, such as Romeo Void, Wang Chung and Flock Of Seagulls when discussing this new band. Either way, there’s no denying that a cover of Dance Hall Days or I Ran (So Far Away) would surely seem like the perfect match.
The first of the two tracks that were once available online is Tell Me Why, which immediately rushes straight into a familiar synthetic fizz associated with all the new wave bands of the early 80s. Haircut 100 are a definite reference, as are Heaven 17 and most of the others, in that they blend synthesized electronics into a straight up pop song. Josh Niechcial’s vocals are sung with a clear English accent, as if to deliberately note that they’re not American, which is another familiar ingredient. A smooth gloss is lovingly smeared all over it, as sounds appear like bold colours, handing out yet another pair of new wave trademarks, particularly with the impossibly charming bassline, but it also has an added punch that their obvious influences sometimes lacked. It feels more like a single than their other song, Heavy Tropics, which is in danger of immediately slipping from the memory, much in the same way that another Brighton band who were always drunk on new wave, The Woo!worths, used to. Remember them? Maybe, but the same could be said for dozens of other 80s bands from this genre. This tune may prove to be a little too twee and contain far too many lines such as, “hey hey now“, but it still has momentum, energy and the essential confidence required to master this style.
Their debut single, Victory Parade, is the tune handed to us as the exclusive. It’s officially available from today as a free download and shows the band at their most evolved. The confidence remains, with the distinct beats whacked as hard as they can, plus they continue their canny ability to locate a set of layered riffs which they successfully then stick to, but this tune seems a more refined mixture. Niechcial sings of how he was “searching for something I don’t think they had“, striving for the unique refreshment that their music needs, but with this first single they may just have located it. A playfulness, a very English lyrical wit, a useful set of breaks within the song, and not over-relying on any one element, allows them to stack up a set of deadly ingredients that gives them a subtle but essential new recipe. It brings them far more up to date, plus they’ve thankfully dropped the “oohs“, “woos” and “ahhs“, which gave their previous songs a lightweight over-familiarity. Like the Sheffield band, Pulp – who also romanticized new wave by channelling the humour amongst the social commentary – it’s not about making people smile, you actually need to make them laugh with your head tilted back and roaring, whilst delivering lyrical punches. The single seems to release the energy promised inside their earlier tunes, giving them a new gear, but its not just about going faster, its about driving quicker whilst still in control, and Victory Parade sees them turning corners quicker than ever. If the 80s era of new wave was known for it’s abundance of one-hit-wonder bands then at least this new trio might already have secured theirs in place.
They’ve supported the likes of Wild Palms, La Shark, Gross Magic and Cloud Control in recent months, but are about to set out on their own live dates on an upcoming winter tour, although a few lucky Brighton locals will also be able to see them when they support the Death Rattle Band on 20th November at The Green Door Store. This set of songs will surely prove a hit when played live, with the loud snares designed for clapping along to. With the live scene so important for a band’s traction in the public domain their buoyant energy will infect any crowd they play to. In a world in which underground contemporary pop music seems to either be going down the very minimal or very alternative channels, it’s energising to hear a band revisiting synthetic pop’s birthplace. However, proving to be a commercial success is never just as simple as writing a good song, or even adding a great live show and a motivated manager into the story, it actually depends on how the public answer our first question. Do you want to hear the 2012 version of Haircut 100? (MB)
MY NEW FAVOURITE TRIBE – VICTORY PARADE
MY NEW FAVOURITE TRIBE – TELL ME WHY