Monday, 5 March 2012

Bleeding Knees Club - Nothing To Do

It’s hard to call garage rock monotonous. The thing’s been trundling on since the 60’s and the continued success of bands like Black Lips show that it’s unlikely to call it a day any time soon. And generally, I don’t really mind. Most garage rock is endlessly listenable in its endearing simplicity and damn-the-man sentiment. But what happens when this attitude becomes the norm and the slacker image is absorbed into pretty much every aspect of culture? Stupid-on-purpose becomes uncool and outwardly-dorky-but-still-cooler-than-thou is in. We’ve seen it happen a hundred times before, be it in New Wave’s embrace of synths in order to cleanse punks rapidly falling stock or the re-purposing of urban music by the XX, James Blake and the rest of their South London ilk.

But right now we find ourselves in a situation where this music is in demand only by the absence of a notable left field. This crowd pleasing trash becomes the alternative. So we get unimaginative runs through well-worn paths because no-one’s travelled them for a while. It’s aesthetically suiting to a culture of beanies and trashy gifs. People are going to like this album because it capitalises on a mindset predicated on laziness and half-arsed nostalgia, and wowee if this isn’t half-arsed nostalgia at its worst.

Yes it’s breezy and dumb, but it’s wrong. The sound and image is jarringly try hard, the scuzzy sound is blatantly aesthetic in its presence (as opposed to being a budgetary necessity). Every song has the same sub Phil Spector chord progression and trebly drums, the lyrics are a master class in trying too hard, best exhibited Problem Child’s refrain of “He’ll throw rocks at your car, he’s always drunk in the park, he always late for school, this boy he’s just a fool”. Sniff hard enough and you’ll smell the piss they’ve drenched on the graves of every 60s girl group.

Wavves have the choruses and the skewed sense of melody and Vivian Girls learnt to put some meat on their music’s bones, sometimes not giving a fuck translates into pretty decent music, but it’s got to bring something new to the table. With Nothing To Do, BKC have managed the rare feat of crafting a record so vapid and tasteless that it can’t even be taken as a joke. Long live being pretentious, the campaign to keep this shit in the basements and bedrooms starts here.


Ned Powley

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