Rock has been persona non grata for a while now. It has a straightforwardness, simple parameters and predisposition towards sound, not image. It has not been cool enough to fulfil the dreams for a generation of kids for whom tightness of their jeans and catch-up faux-reminiscence of an ill-defined period of hedonism is the primary focus.
So by ‘rock’, I mean, simple, perhaps. Bands that spend equally little time between fussing over hair and wondering whether one quasi-ironic keyboard sound is more real than another.
Simple can be good too. You just need to be bold enough to pull it off.
Here are Mafia Lights. Their four-square, unambiguous rock approach might not sit so comfortably alongside a lot of the bands on ANBAD, but a song like BJM displays the basic essence of Good Rock: simple pleasures pleasuring simply.
BJM is a good song; lacking in pretence, overflowing with urgency, not caring either way. Mafia Lights don’t shy from verse-chorus-verse, they embrace this simple template as a method of expression.
And if all that sounds just too complex, too cerebral for Rock, well, perhaps it is. But Rock is pop music’s forgotten cousin, who has locked himself away in his bedroom for a long time, and is only now finally emerging, blinking, confident again. Life is going to get better for all of us.
Photography © Olivia Waters