More Apes

9 12 2008

Well, as promised, here’s my Fight Like Apes festival diary from this summer. We laughed, we cried (well, not really) and we watched one too many episodes of King of the Hill. The original ran in Vol 32, Issue 19 of Hot Press but because I’m so good to you, you can read it here for free…

Monkey Magic

As rising Dublin-based outfit Fight Like Apes prepare to unleash their much anticipated debut album, Edwin McFee joins them on tour at the Reading and Leeds festival to find out all about recording in Seattle, writing songs about wrestlers and why being in a band beats working at the sweet counter in a cinema any day of the week.



Within five minutes of meeting rising Dublin outfit Fight Like Apes in their dressing room at the Reading festival in England, singer May Kay throws her arms around Hot Press and cackles “We already love you, you’re one of us,” as her band-mates circle me, inspecting my tattoos much like the simians in their band’s moniker.

            Welcome to the world of Fight Like Apes and for the next few days we get to see them in all of their glory. Whether they’re rocking out in front of a packed room of banner-waving Limeys, practising wrestling moves on each other, watching endless re-runs of King of the Hill in their bus while leaning out the window good-naturedly heckling the passers by, eating stew with their fingers or sitting in shopping trolleys in some anonymous English inner-city car park begging this writer to push them onto the motor-way, they continue to carry themselves like absolute stars in the making. Even when the band’s lanky bassist Tom tells me they plan to roll me up in a carpet and throw me in the river later on that night while I sleep, he does so in a manner that could charm the knickers off a nun.

On September 26, the kooky quartet (completed by synth player Jamie and tee-total tub-thumper Adrian) deliver on two years worth of promise by releasing their debut album Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion and all being well, it should catapult them to the stratospheres.

            “To be honest I’ll be fucked if I know what the reaction to the record is going to be like,” begins May Kay. “If I was to take a guess I’d imagine it’s going to split the Red Sea. It’s been like that since the start of this band though. We’ve always divided opinion and we love that we divide opinion. We just play for ourselves because we’re not interested in pleasing anyone else.

            “I imagine it’s going to have a Marmite reaction,” continues Jamie. “We like that though. Anything that provokes some sort of reaction is fine by me.”

            Earlier this year the band decamped to Seattle for a month, where they made their debut with knob twiddler extraordinaire John Goodmanson, who has produced albums with Sleater Kinney, Deathcab for Cutie, Wu Tang Clan and um, Hanson. By all accounts, it was an amazing four weeks for the band and not only did they see the gun shop where Kurt Cobain bought his rifle on that fateful day and used Marky Ramone’s old drum-kit, they made the album of their lives as well. Now that the feisty four-piece are on the cusp of something great, we ask them if record sales and ambition (seemingly a dirty word in some circles) have much impact on their quest for world domination.

            “I want to sell loads actually,” laughs Jamie. “Anyone who says they don’t want their song played every minute of the day on the radio is a liar. I’m more than happy for this album to get the shit played out of it.

            “When we record an album, spend a month in Seattle working on it, then bring it home and sort out the art work over a few weeks and make sure everything is as perfect as it could be, we want people to hear it. So if the radio wants to play our song a hundred times a day then that’s cool!” continues May Kay. “Just so you know though, we didn’t sit around and make sure everything sounded as commercial as possible. As well as poppier songs we’ve an eight second long song called ‘Megameanie’ on there as well as a secret track that hints at where we go from here.

“As far as our ambition goes, I think it’d be easy to make an album that panders to the fans we already have, but we’ve never done anything the easy way. We want to challenge ourselves and get as many people as possible into this band. That’s why we’re releasing ‘Jake Summers’ again as a single-so we can get that exposure we need and also because it’s our favourite song.”

Ah yes, ‘Jake Summers.’ For those of you yet to catch the Fight Like Apes live experience, ‘Jake Summers’ is a song that’s not only as catchy as clamidia during Fresher’s Week, but it also features a mid-section where Jamie wrestles May Kay to the floor every night. It’s a moment which usually provokes two reactions in the crowd-mild out-rage or belly laughs. At Reading and Leeds, thankfully most people seemed to get the joke…

“That wrestling section in Jake Summers is the one time in a guy’s career where he gets to beat a girl up onstage and get cheered for it and I’m cool with that,” laughs their singer. “I always end up getting a kick in the mouth whenever we play that song and I‘ve got the cuts to prove it, but it’s just funny looking at everyone’s reactions. If you look around, Adrian is usually pissing himself laughing and Tom is always at the front of the stage looking at everyone to see what’s going to happen next.”

 Fight Like Apes have always delighted in a bit of near the knuckle frivolity though. Even when they were just starting out in 2006, their initial gigs in the Mez in Dublin were like a training ground for them all and it helped them gauge how far they can take the piss with their punters.

 “When people really hate you and keep leaving, you can’t help but amp up the obnoxiousness,” says Jamie. “It got to the stage where we started to ask ourselves about how obnoxious could we sound. There’s only so far you can go with that however, and at the end of the day we’re writing songs-so we’re not as snotty as we used to be.

“When we started, it was a case of whoever wanted to stay can stay and whoever wanted to leave, well, we didn’t want you there anyway,” offers May Kay.

While they may have toned down the snot-factor just a tad (though we should hasten to point out that Fight Like Apes performances are hardly on a level with “rolling around in your own shite while naked and bleeding” types affairs that you used to get from someone like G.G. Allin) they remain just as vital and visceral as ever. Best of all, they now finally have an arsenal of tunes to back it up. These days their synth-laden songs pack more punch than Barry McGuigan in his prime and it’s pretty clear from watching them strut (or should that be stagger?) around back-stage at Reading and Leeds that they’re already walking the walk like old pros. So does it concern them that the press may feel the need to pigeon-hole a pretty damn unique band with an ugly bog-standard label?

“I’ve heard they’re already grouping us, Johnny Foreigner and Los Campesinos together and calling us riot pop due to our mutual riot grrrl roots,” sniffs Jamie as he tidies up his equipment after another stellar show in Leeds. “In some ways we’re afraid of getting attached to a scene just to sell magazines. If we had have started a few years earlier then we might’ve been added to the new rave list because we’ve got synths, and nothing would’ve pissed us off more.

“It would have been good for our wallets though,” May Kay keenly observes. “New rave was such a shite term, wasn’t it? Bands like the Rapture, Klaxons and CSS were all put into that pigeon hole and while I like them, they’re all totally different. It’s unfair to give them a name. These days you can’t be written about unless you come from a ‘scene’ and if you can’t be put into a box then no-one cares. I blame the journalists. Like who gives a fuck about sex tips for new ravers? Top Shop seem like they sponsor the scene and that’s stupid. Why are clothes sponsoring music? At the end of the day, the way I see things is, if sticking us with a label is what gives us access to bigger crowds, then I’m all for it. After that, they can make up their own minds.”

Amen, sister. From the looks of things however, Fight Like Apes don’t need to be attached to a scene in order to fire up people’s imaginations anyway. They’re already doing that if the scores of FLA t-shirt clan English fans who have packed into the Festival Republic tents to see their heroes are anything to go by and with celebrity fans such as BBC Radio One heavy hitters like Steve Lamaq and Huw Stephens backing them up, it looks like things are really happening for the unassuming musicians.

“We’re the type of guys who whenever we’re in the VIP area, we’re always wondering when we’re going to get kicked out,” laughs Jamie.

But for all Jamie modesty, this writer has to disagree with him. Just moments later, Hot Press is sitting with the band’s straight-talking drummer Adrian in the artist catering area and as members of We Are Scientists, Gallows, the Raconteurs and Brandon from the Killers all sit with us to tuck into the swordfish dinner, he looks utterly unfazed by their celebrity status. Better still-he actually looks at home with it all. Like this is where he deserves to be. It’s a rather telling moment for the quieter member of the band, but in just one sentence he perfectly sums his career up thus far.

“When you first start a band you usually make a list of things you want to achieve and this past year, what with playing Glastonbury and making the album in Seattle, we’ve done it all. It’s an amazing feeling and I just keep wanting more.”

Later on that day at the Leeds festival, we catch the band tucking into some much needed alcohol-based nourishment. The security guys are watching the band’s wrestling antics and shaking their heads proclaiming us all mad. In many ways they may be right, but who cares as long as you’re having this much fun, right? Unlike some of their po-faced, pretentious peers, Fight Like Apes know how to have a laugh along the way and that could one of the secrets to their success.

“What other profession in the world is it ok for us to be this drunk this early in the day and where your work colleagues might criticise you for not being drunk enough?” laughs Jamie.

“I think once you start feeling like you should be bigger and are hard done by, then that’s the time to give up,” May Kay states. “This life is amazing. I mean you get free equipment, a bottle of vodka, some Haribo and six paper cups on your rider for starters. Cool, eh?”

May Kay’s attitude is not only refreshing, it’s inspirational. After the bottom fell out of the riot grrrl scene in the late 90s, the music world needs someone like her to help kick against the pricks and the singer, for her part, has got her steel-toe capped boots at the ready.

“Sometimes when people complain about this life that we lead, I feel like punching them,” she says. “When you look at the fact that your other option is getting up at seven in the morning, walking to a bus then travelling to work for nine, this life is pretty sweet. We’ve all done the nine-five life, except for Jamie (he was the sweet factory man in UCI cinemas) and we all hated it, so what’s to complain about?

“Don’t get me wrong, it can be a slog,” she continues. “There’s always a point in a 20 day tour where you’re playing 17 of them and you just think to yourself-I’d fucking love to eat some carrots, or I’d love to have a slice of bread from my own house and a bath, but no-one ever says anything because it’s such a laugh and we don’t like complaining. When you’re onstage for those 30 minutes it’s the most exciting, amazing, orgasmic time of any day and that’s worth all the sacrifices. By the way, I saw your face there now Tom and I did not have an orgasm today thank you very much.”

Much like their kung fu movie heroes China O’Brien and the Cobra Kai, Fight Like Apes are also refusing to take quitting as an option. While other Irish bands with similar promise have imploded just as they were on the cusp of something truly monumental, the four friends see this as the be-all and end-all of their lives to date.

“We’re a young band and we don’t have any ties whatsoever,” says Jamie. “I think the reason why other Irish bands haven’t made the breakthrough is because they have other things to rely on. We don’t. We live on £15 a day and failure isn’t really an option. We don’t have back-up plans. We’ve left ourselves with no options on purpose. It’s either this or nothing.”

“None of us want to go back to college,” remarks May Kay. “All of us want this so bad. We look to people like Siouxsie Sioux who is still doing this while middle aged and we think that’s pretty great. If I can do this until I’m 30years old and make a living from it then I may quite possibly be the happiest girl in the world.  At the moment Fight Like Apes are a beautiful, messed up and twisted family and we don’t ever see that changing.”

After spending a weekend in their company, it’s clear that May Kay is right. The band are indeed like a family with their long suffering road manger Dave Broy (who they enjoy tormenting by trying to get him arrested on a daily basis) and Adrian acting as the parents and May Kay, Jamie and Tom as the rebellious, yet adorable kids. It’s a fucked up dynamic, but it seems to work for them and if the results are delivering an album that’s full of more jaw dropping moments than a Jenna Jameson movie, then who’s complaining? As Hot Press bids farewell to Fight Like Apes, we count our blessings that finally, after a succession of false-starts and fuck ups, we’ve not only got a new Irish band to believe in, but one that actually relishes the challenge of using their talents on a world stage. Couple that with the fact that yours truly didn’t get rolled up inside a carpet and chucked into a nearby lake and you can chalk one up in the win column for Team HP.

“Let’s say in two years time the entire world signs a petition saying ‘Fight Like Apes, please stop playing music’ and we have to quit,” concludes May Kay as she gives us an emotional goodbye. “I will genuinely have had the best time of my life that’s been the most ridiculously horrible but amazing time ever and you know what the best thing about all that is? I know that there’s more to come.”

Fight Like Apes

3 12 2008

Well tonight we’re off to see Fight Like Apes in Belfast and to mark the occasion I thought I’d post up my review of their amazing debut that ran in Hot Press a few months ago (yes, I gave it five out of five). Tomorrow I’ll post up my FLA tour diary from Reading and Leeds. Isn’t that exciting?

Fight Like Apes

Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion (Model Citizen)

Five out of five

For close to an eternity (well ok, it’s probably only been a handful of years) Ireland has cried out for a band to make a record that not only sums up life in the 2000’s, but also to play music to actually believe in. Step forward those plucky young punk rock-tinged upstarts Fight Like Apes, who have not only achieved all this and more, but they’ve created an album that looks set to change a lot of people’s lives for the better.

            Filled with more kick-ass moments than a Jean Claude Van Damme highlight reel, their debut recalls all those great (but sadly defunct) Kill Rock Stars bands such as the Bangs, Bikini Kill and Bratmobile but at the same time puts their own Ape-stamp on things by including songs about wrestling (I’m Beginning To Think You Prefer Beverly Hills 90210 To Me’) dip-shit Top Shop bands (‘Something Global’) and, um, Megameanie’s (the gloriously obnoxious eight second long epic ‘Megameanie’) as well as darker material (‘Digifucker’).  

            Recorded in Seattle, yet thankfully sounding nothing like those dirty-haired bands from the decade that hygiene forgot, Golden Medallion practically buzzes with excitement every time it hits your speakers. Yeah, some nay-sayers may complain about the fact that much of the record is culled from songs they’ve been playing on the Irish gig circuit for a few years now, but when you consider that most listeners will be hearing ‘Jake Summers’ and ‘Lend Me Your Face’ for the first time, it’s an exceptionally cohesive collection of sonic thrills.

            Never out-staying its welcome and clocking in at a pacey 36minutes, Golden Medallion is as catchy as a Christmas cold and filled with more hooks than a match with Ricky Hatton. Star of the show has to be MayKay’s vocal performance (particularly on ‘Jake Summers’) which ranges from sultry to insane in three seconds flat but bassist Tom, drummer Adrian and synthesiser supremeo Jamie are no slouches either, despite their efforts to prove to the contrary. To say that Golden Medallion is probably the best Irish album of the year just doesn’t do it justice, as pound for pound it’s probably the best slab of wax to be released in 2008, period. All in all, judging by the strength of their debut, it looks like Fight Like Apes will be the top bananas for years to come.


Key Track: ‘Jake Summers.’

Edwin McFee

The Luchagors

2 12 2008

While I am recommending some new bands today on Blogging a Dead Horse, then check out the mighty fine Luchagors featuring former wrestler Amy Dumas (Lita) as their singer.

Normally I’m a little wary of bands like these but after listening to the four tracks up on their MySpace ( I love ’em. Better yet, they’re coming to Belfast next April, so if you like Distillers-esque riffage then have a wee click on their profile and go along to the show.

Sons and Daughters

2 12 2008

This time last year I was handed an advance copy of Sons and Daughters latest album ‘This Gift.’ From the very first listen I loved everything about the album and last week when I was putting together my top 20 albums for Hot Press this was at number two. Inspired by the strength of the record, we decided to make Sons and Daughters the AU cover stars for the Christmas issue 07 and below is the original transcript.

Sons and Daughters

Words_Edwin McFee


“I feel like we’re on the brink of something monumental.”


As Glaswegian glamour-pusses Sons And Daughters prepare to unleash new album ‘This Gift’ in January, AU sits down with lead singer and all-round uber-vixen Adele Bethel to find out where they’ve been and why everyone’s favourite cult band may just be 2008’s biggest success story.


Two years ago Scottish tunesmiths Sons And Daughters were the toast of the town. They were lauded by Morrissey, loved by Franz Ferdinand and the critics couldn’t get enough of their dark and salacious tales of lust and despair. In fact it looked like the four-piece were all set to take over from the likes of Blondie and become the achingly hip band you’ve always dreamed of. But it didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, once tour commitments for second record ‘The Repulsion Box’ finished last year, they seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth, leaving their loyal fans a bit confused as to what was happening. But good things come to those who wait as they old saying goes, and Sons And Daughters’ lead singer Adele Bethel assures us that 2008 will be their year.


“When I think about the next few months, I can only see great things on the horizon for us,” she boldly states. “Our new album [‘This Gift’] will be out in the shops and it really is the definitive Sons And Daughters record. We’re stepping up our game and we want to make sure it gets heard by as many people as possible. For whatever reason our previous albums haven’t clicked with people the way we hoped but I know for sure this one will.”


Before anyone reading switches off assuming Adele is falling into the rock ‘n’ roll cliché of talking up her new album, let’s remind ourselves of a few things. Throughout the band’s career, the singer has often dodged questions about her songs and often avoided interviews altogether preferring to let people make their own minds up. So when she tells AU that ‘This Gift’ is truly something special, we’re inclined to believe her.


“It’s a more considered album this time around,” she offers. “We got Bernard Butler in to produce it and he was a joy to work with. I was a big fan of the songs he did as McAlmont and Butler and to be honest as soon as Bernard came onboard he shook everything up for us. He’s not backwards in coming forwards with his opinions. I remember playing him the 30 songs we had written for the record and he would openly tell us if something was shite, which was a bit of a shock to our systems at first. We had spent so much time as this little insular gang and when you have someone new come in and tell you what they think it can be hard to take but we ended up getting on really well together and bonded over out mutual love of The Smiths.”


The Smiths play a huge part in the story of Sons And Daughters. Adele actually looks like she could be a character from one of Morrissey’s tawdry tales and her own songs practically drip with the same suffocating 1960s-style kitchen-sink drama of the much-loved Manchester band. So it comes as no surprise when she tells us that ‘The Queen Is Dead’ pretty much changed her life when she was 13.

“When I was younger I really didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life,” recalls Adele. “But when a friend of mine’s older sister gave me her copy of that record, well, that was it for me. I immediately thought to myself that I wanted to spend the next two years in my room only listening to Morrissey. Like a lot of people-I can safely say I wouldn’t be in a band without him.”


Much to the singer’s surprise, it turned out that the Moz-Father was a fan of Sons And Daughters as well and he personally invited them on tour with him early last year. Needless to say it was a moment.


“Morrissey is an absolute gentleman,” she says of the much-maligned crooner. “As you might expect he’s quite a shy man but he was really welcoming to us and he’s surprisingly humble for someone who’s achieved so much. To find out that he liked our music was such a boost for us and really encouraging.”


Since their inception in 2001, Sons And Daughters were never shy about playing tribute to their influences though. Their band-name comes from a line in a Bob Dylan song and their breakthrough single was called ‘Johnny Cash’. But these days, Adele gets her inspiration from the silver screen instead of her stereo.


“I know it sounds a bit weird but films have inspired most of our new songs. It’s just gotten to the point where I’m surrounded by music every day and I watch movies to get a break from all of that. It’s the old 60s dramas that I love the best, like Billy Liar. There’s so much amazing imagery that can be interpreted into music. I also think I was a bit burned out by everything once we finished touring ‘The Repulsion Box’ so it’s good to have a bit of a break.”


Once ‘This Gift’ finally sees the light of day in early 2008, it’ll have been three years since fans heard new material from the four-piece. In today’s world, unless you’re a band like Guns ‘N Roses, three years can seem like a lifetime and can often cripple a band’s career. But after a particularly gruelling tour schedule, Adele and the rest of the group (drummer and co-founder David Gow, multi-instrumentalist Ailidh Lennon and guitarist Scott Paterson) needed some time off to recharge.


“To be honest we were completely burnt out once we finished touring,” she confesses. “We were all just totally wiped out. We released ‘Love The Cup’ through Domino in 2004, then the next year ‘The Repulsion Box’ came out and we just never stopped. I think if we hadn’t taken time off I would’ve gone insane. It can be hard sometimes on your mind as well as your body and I don’t think people realise that. For example, at the moment we’ve been on the road for four and a half weeks and I’ve had three days off.”

But it wasn’t just the rigours of touring and living in each others pockets that wore Adele out, it was the constant spectre of ‘The Repulsion Box’ looming in the background whenever they tried to write some new music.


“It took us a while to get away from that album. We spent two years living it out every night onstage and it was hard to escape in a way. We don’t write songs when we’re on the road so we were starting with a blank sheet and because we were all so determined to change how we made music, it took us a while to break away from what we did in the past. The previous record was a lot louder and nosier than anything we’ve ever done so we needed to rethink what we were doing and it’s all worked out well in the end.”


In many ways it’s probably a blessing in disguise that Sons And Daughters took a self-imposed sabbatical for a short while. Although they have a huge cult following and gained glowing reviews along the way, they never seemed to quite click with the average music fan in the same way as fellow Scots such as Idlewild or Franz Ferdinand have. People were confused as to what kind of band they were and that resulted in their first two albums being criminally over-looked.


“We’re one of those bands that are hard to pin down,” says the singer. “In the past I’ve read reviews of our gigs that compare us to bands that are a million miles removed from us. I think that confuses a lot of people and they expected to hear a different band than they were getting. This time around people will finally get what we’re all about.”


As the front-woman in Sons And Daughters, Adele obviously attracts most of the attention, but it’s not something that she consciously seeks out. Onstage she’s as provocative and fiery as they come, but in private she’s much quieter than her public persona would suggest.


“I hate getting my photo taken and making videos. I don’t enjoy it one bit. I even get nervous doing interviews and I don’t like putting myself out there like that. I know that when I’m performing onstage you would probably think differently of me but that’s not who I am. I see it as acting in many ways. When I put on my stage clothes and I’ve a microphone in my hand I’m someone else.”


From our chat with Adele, it becomes clear that Sons And Daughters are a band in every sense of the word. They’re fiercely protective of each other, seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company (so much so that Adele and Scott live together) and they look out for one another when things go wrong.


“We have an ‘us against the world’ vibe,” says Adele. “We really are like a wee gang. I’ve known David since we were in Arab Strap together, I live with Scott and I’ve known Ailidh for years. I think this feeling of loyalty and friendship is what has kept us together through everything and I hope we continue this band for as long as possible.”


As AU finishes up our interview to let Adele nurse a hangover and tackle the rather unglamorous task of washing her clothes, talk turns to what she hopes the future may hold for her and her three friends. There’s no doubting that she’s extremely proud of her band and rightly so. Sons And Daughters make the kind of music that is as raw as an open wound and as subtle as a hammer in the face. Their captivating male/female vocals and knack for telling the best murder ballads this side of Nick Cave has attracted them quite a bit of attention in the past and their effortless yet iconic sense of style is as eye-catching as they come. So with album number three under the belts and a new-found confidence in their abilities, our money is on Sons And Daughters to finally make the strides they’ve long been threatening to in the forthcoming twelve months.


“I feel like we’re on the brink of something monumental,” she concludes. “I don’t know how to explain it but I think next year everything is going to change for us in a big way. I think that the time is right for a band like us. You know that feeling you get on New Year’s Eve where you know that nothing will be the same again in 12 months time? Well I have that at the moment and I can’t wait to see what happens. I’ve got nothing but excited thoughts and high hopes in my head. Our next tour in February can’t come fast enough.”






She’s in Fashion


When it comes to sartorial elegance and sheer cool as ice star power, Sons and Daughters have it all in spades. But it’s not just Adele Bethel’s band who know how to cut a dash and have fans imitating their look-there are other artists out there whose iconic sense of style has helped make them blur the boundaries between music and fashion and here are just a few of them.


Debbie Harry

Even at the grand old age of 62, Debbie still manages to remain as hip as ever by wearing exactly what she likes, when she likes. The Blondie singer broke hearts across the globe with inspirational and visionary videos for songs like ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ and the utterly iconic ‘Heart of Glass’ and has remained a true one-off ever since.


Siouxsie Sioux

Although she would probably smack us in the mouth for saying it, Siouxsie Sioux more or less single-handedly invented the goth look. To say that the former Banshees frontwoman created her own specific niche is something of an understatement and it’s still a look that most people copy today.


Karen O

Who else could make a bin-bag look like high fashion other than Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O? Some people might think she dresses like a mental patient, but they’d be wrong. The half Korean half-Polish singer and muse for her designer friend Christian Joy has put the fun back into fashion and we never know what she’s going to wear next.


Beth Ditto

Although these days the Gossip’s singer Beth Ditto finds it hard to actually keep on her stage outfits whenever she’s performing, when she does actually wear them, they are unquestionably hers. Not many people can wear neon lycra and get away with it but Beth can.


Kate Nash

2007’s biggest success story is also arguably the most copied singer out there right now. Her modern look consisting of floral patterned dresses and granny pearls have made her a darling of the tabloids and unfathomably she’s also made having ginger hair and freckles look really cool too. Somewhere off in the distance we can almost hear Chris Evans whooping with glee…



This Gift-the AU Verdict


If Sons and Daughters’ previous two blood-thirsty albums were perfect for those dark and fore-boding cold, winter nights, then their third effort ‘This Gift’ is tailor made for good times and Thursday, Friday AND Saturday nights. This time around everything has been pared back to guitar, bass and drums leaving co-singers Adele and Scott free to come up with the catchiest batch of pure pop tunes in an aeon and they sound all the better for it.


Album opener and recent single ‘Gilt Complex’ gives us a taster of what to expect from the new Sons and Daughters and it goes down well. Things really kick off on the utterly perfect and future Indie disco classic ‘Chains’ though, which is chock-full of “woah-oh-oh’s” and old school doo-wop call-outs. In many ways it’s reminiscent of Rocket from the Crypt at their most tender or early Billy Joel as his most vital in a weird kind of way and has to be heard to be believed. New single ‘Darling’ raises the bar even more though, with a life-affirming chorus that’ll lodge itself into your brain and refuse to leave and the same can be said for album closer ‘Goodbye Service.’


Throughout 12 tracks, ‘This Gift’ doesn’t take its foot off the gas once. It’s lean, neat, gloriously up-beat and guaranteed to lift even the sulkiest listener. Credit in some part must go to producer and former Suede song-writer Bernard Butler who has helped pare away some of the more self-indulgent tendencies in the four-piece and left behind the pop band you’ve always dreamed of. Equal parts Shangri-las and Ronettes mixed with a little bit of Ramones and T-Rex, Sons and Daughters circa now are ultimately 100per cent distinctive and there’s no-one out there who is making music quite like this.


Although it seems a little odd to say it, ‘This Gift’ is well on its way to being 2008’s best album and the year hasn’t even begun yet. Every single song bar none has the makings of a hit single and when Adele predicted that her band is on the verge of something monumental, we believe every word she says. ‘This Gift’ is a record that will appeal to anyone who wants to hear iconoclastic pop rock songs that are not only carefully crafted but catchier than a Christmas time cold. Simply put-‘This Gift’ is the album that Sons and Daughters were born to make. Buy it, steal it, sell your arse on the street for it if you need too-but trust us, it’ll be worth it.

I Drank the Wine and I Threw Away the Rose

2 12 2008

Today I’ve spent my morning hunting down new bands and chasing up things that I should’ve ages ago. My first point of call was this new Hellcat Records (a label I adore) band Civet. Four girls playing buzzsaw punk is always a great thing in my book, but when I listened to their cover of the Murder City Devils’ ‘I Drank the Wine’ played at breakneck speed I was hooked. Yeah, I know, I’ve got four Murder City-themed tattoos so I’m probably biased, but Civet kick more arse than a Ricky Hatton highlight reel.