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Sunday, January 09, 2011
Brother's Attempt to Recreate Oasis is Merely Depressing
The band's bid to relive 1996 might fare better if they had an ounce of wit or originality
In the summer of 2009, a T4 interview with Raygun did the rounds of the Twittersphere. It seemed to present a real-life Spinal Tap with a fondness for "drinking Mojitos at 11am – what the hell, man!" that displayed a mesmerising lack of self-awareness. Last year produced nothing quite so cringeworthy, though a promo film of the hotly tipped Brother came close.
Documenting the lad-rock band's attempts to play for "the people", it showed the quartet setting up their equipment at two locations in their native Slough, only to have their first gig shut down by "the man" (translation: an old man tells them they need permission to play and the boys pack up their stuff and leave politely), while their second attempt is met with mild bemusement by some schoolgirls. A tale of rock'n'roll shenanigans that could make Keith Richards blush this was not. None the less, Brother have excited a great deal of interest, starring on the cover of the NME last week with a strapline hailing "the return of the great British guitar band".
How has this happened? At their debut gig in London a few months ago, Brother took the stage with the hilarious boast: "If anyone here doesn't want to see the future of music, leave now!" Leaving aside the daftness of the question (did anyone shuffle towards the door muttering: "Future of music? Not for me, mate, I thought this was the quarter-final of the Nuneaton tiddly winks championship…") such an attitude tells you a lot about Brother and their desire to revisit Britpop.
Just take the name, which seems to have arisen from a challenge to invoke Oasis in as many ways as possible using just one word: Oasis were based around two brothers, the band's label was called Big Brother and "Brother" was the sponsor splashed across the Manchester City football shirts worn in those famous early photos.
Then there's their sound, a bold, eclectic cocktail that dares to ask the question no other band dare tackle, namely: "What happens if we combine the Seahorses with Mansun?"
It's hardly surprising that a band would feel the time was right to exhume Britpop. Blur and Suede have recently performed triumphant reunion shows, and Pulp caused a stir last year when they announced a string of 2011 festival dates with the "classic" Britpop line-up. Elsewhere, there's a debut album due from Liam Gallagher's new band, Beady Eye, a group who aim to rise above the memories of Oasis by, er, recruiting every single member of Oasis bar that guy who played guitar. And that's before we've mentioned Shed Seven, Kula Shaker and the Bluetones, who it turns out never went away.
Photo: Paul Slattery
There's nothing wrong with a revival, as long as the artists involved do enough to make it seem fresh. Just look at how Zola Jesus and new Domino signing Anna Calvi have breathed life into the corpse of goth with tremendous debuts. And let's not forget that Britpop itself was perhaps the ultimate revival, although for all the "Oasis sound like Beatles" comments, the most memorable bands all brought something new to the table, be it attitude (Oasis), wit (Pulp) or only being able to play two chords (Menswear).
The depressing thing about Brother is that they seem genuinely to believe that it's still 1996. When they played recently at the Met Bar (where else?), they demanded that the DJ "turn that dubstep shit off". In terms of sonic invention, their music makes Noel Gallagher look like Shostakovich. But it's their unintentionally hilarious attempts to act up to the Brit rocker image that really make you despair.
Studying Oasis (again), Brother clearly think that outrageous statements about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll are the way to get noticed. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a member with the bizarre comedy persona of a Liam Gallagher to deliver said messages. That's why recently you found them telling the Guardian that they would soon be heading for a world of "drugs and prostitutes". Prostitutes? I'm sure countless budding bands dream of the day when they can finally afford to pay for sex.
If anything, these misfiring quotes are perhaps Brother's only redeeming feature. It's an almost lovable stupidity that makes you hope they might stick around for entertainment value, if nothing else. How could you not when they told the NME: "We're sick of all these American bands" while posing for an accompanying photograph wearing a jumper emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes?
via L4e / source: guardian.co.uk
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