What do you call glasses with no glass in them? This quasi-philosophical query popped into my life yesterday, as I was wandering strolling down Oxford Road in Manchester. Lost in my own pompous sense of raffish manliness, donning a new, grown-up coat, I pondered on how devilishly suave I was looking, in a 1930′s gumshoe kind of way. Usefully, a student interrupted before my head inflated and I floated off into the flight path of passing planes.
There are plenty of students on that particular road, and this one thrust a flyer into my hand, as is the students’ want. It advertised a jumble sale of vintage* clothing. As I involuntarily thanked her, I noticed that she was wearing the kind glasses that your grandmother may have rejected as they’d make her look too ancient. The glasses contained no lenses, and were serving solely as a fashion item.
Removing an object’s function and leaving it as a useless, purchasable, purely decorative item has its rock equivalent – Scouting For Girls (who we’ve discussed before)
. Surely it’s more difficult to write vapid music than something that sounds different, at the very least.
Perhaps Today’s New Band, Something Like Fire, have thought about similar issues, because their songs seep different influences with abandon. Mr Shadow sounds like a loud punk song that has had the original fuzz stripped away and a light, tight composition put in its place. It scrapes the 2 1/2 minute mark and yet still flirts with as many original ideas as it can.
While New World Wonder is a more straightforward rock song, it still skitters along, skewed slightly, but importantly, at an angle to normality. White Noise isn’t that at all, but is the most calming and engaging lift music ever, clicking and clucking for its own amusement.
Something Like Fire cut a path of their own idiosyncratic making. Their songs are defiantly obtuse enough to be interesting, and tuneful enough to be enjoyable. A good balance? Put it this way – if more bands aimed for the same traits maybe the world (OK, just the pop charts) would be a better place. Listen here!