>Weirdness is an underrated virtue in pop ‘n’ rock music, and for understandable reasons. It’s too often, rightly, associated with acts who use a veneer of ‘kooky’ as an execrable cover-up for lack of talent – take a bow, Babylon Zoo. However, if these awful aberrations can be forgotten, weirdness is a Good Thing – if only as in indicator of deliberate step away from convention. Anyone with a pair of ears and a skull that isn’t used as spare storage space for semi-ironic glow-sticks, back-combed hair and slogan T-shirts knows that the bands who tow the line and trudge the well-worn skinny-jeans-and-aimless-posturing path rarely innovate.
What really sets the pulse racing and induces involuntary grins of deee-lite is that moment when you hear something new, something that sounds enough like everything else to be bearable, and far removed enough from exactly the same things to be exciting, surprising and, well, new. If you don’t quite follow, Today’s New Band, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, are a good place to start. There are a number of antecedents that his music could be favourably compared to (see the super exciting SECOND INSTALLMENT of today’s GLIB COMPARISON GIMMICK for more details), and yet his grouchy, slightly deranged vocals and frankly tremendous tunes are something that are enticingly sparkly and new.
In The Evil Thoughts, he chunters through a scenario about a woman who is shunning him, and the result is, indeed, slightly sinister – “And even though I’m nice to your face, the evil thoughts form in my brain.” An even better track, though, is The Battle Is Over, a similarly half-crazy, all-wonderful story of a man returning home from war to find his woman telling him that, whilst he, “went away to play soldiers with your friends/I had to rely on other men”. The female vocals are sung by the fabulously voiced Candythief. Make no mistake, this is the best song you’ll have heard for a long, long time – since, frankly, All the Rage by the Royal We. If you only listen to one new song this week, it should be this one – it’s truly, brilliantly, wonderfully fantastic. Song of the year so far, easily. Listen to it, and the others, here, now, or you’ll regret it, young ‘un!
TODAY’S GLIB COMPARISON: Like Nick Cave having a drunken brawl with a theoretical newly-acoustic-folk-change-of-direction Pop Will Eat Itself, whilst Shane McGowan watches, caressing his knuckle duster. And the Pixies. Again.