The indie-rock genre is overcrowded, you won’t need to go far to hear people say this, but in reality – it depends on how far you cast the net. Are we limiting ourselves to the stalwarts of the last 50 years, in jazz, punk, indie, dance, rhythm & blues? You know – the hallmarks. Of course we aren’t and we shouldn’t. We now look at the likes of Laptop Pop, Cuddlecore, Neo-Psychedlia, Nintendocore and there are possibly even murmurs of cock pop being a thing.
But one thing about the indie-rock genre is that it doesn’t appear to receive the same graces. Or at least, given enough worth to present its own offshoots. It’s just guitars, and drums, and well, you know – it’s just some songs, with some words. For a genre that’s so wide-spanning, it really fails to segregate itself efficiently as so many other genres have. But then why the fuck should it?
After reviewing this genre for a number of years, writers are inevitably forced to come up with their own labels – but I’m not nearly prominent enough to invent a new genre offshoot – so this is what I’ve got:
You remember those bands, like 9 or 10 years ago, after Britpop, they used the guitars – with the pianos and the vocals and that – the fuller sound, the additional power? You know, the likes of Kasabian. They grew out of the Stone Roses, Happy Monday’s etc. they had the quirks and the keys – but unlike their contemporaries they also had some pretty decent voices.
Then a couple of years later it all got a bit dancey. The drummer started lingering on the offbeat, the synths came in, and they were louder than the guitars (such sacrilege) – the vocals become infinitely more obnoxious. The Wombats wrote that song ‘Moving to New York’ didn’t they? Oh, and Hard Fi. Jesus. The point is, we’ve been been seeing big digressions and evolution in the catch-all guitar-based rock genre over the last decade. And you may not have noticed it change again. This time though, it hasn’t gotten worse.
Everyone knows how a band starts – you get your guitarist, a singer, a bassist and a drummer. That’s your core. The synths and the bullshit come later. But, in a world of declining music sales and soaring living costs – how do you fund a tour? Someone has to go, and we revert to the age-old last in, first out.
That’s you, mister keyboard man, and your cello isn’t welcome either.
Nowadays, it’s the likes of The Vaccines that we see getting on the radio from this genre – but rather than adding an initial layer – it’s reverted back to something more familiar to 80s garage rock than anything close to Britpop or all that came after it.
Which is why this new crop of bands, like This Many Boyfriends – the subject of this review, almost forgot about that – are so much more exciting. It takes anyone who ever loved this simple form of rock n’ roll, and it drags them screaming back to the glory days when it was just them and 3 mates in a garage, playing horrendous Nirvana covers. But it was fun right?
This Many Boyfriends represents everything that was right with the world when you first picked up a guitar. You sang about girls, you sang about the things that pissed you off in life, and you played it loud, you played it with slightly too much distortion, and you covered up your bum notes by singing deeper, with a slight monotone.
Of course – the room for experimentation or switching things up can become limited with this set up – so what makes This Many Boyfriends debut any better than the others? Well, not so much. But it’s a self-titled debut, and if we’re keeping the wrote it, cut it, put it out within 3 months ethos – then this is perfectly acceptable. They’ve got songs like ‘Sometimes‘ – with endearingly familiar lines like “Sometimes you might feel like shit / Sometimes you might not feel a part of it” which has a fast-paced guitar line, punishing drums and a solid bass hook.
Then there are songs like I Don’t Like You (Because You Don’t Like the Pastels) about the long running Glaswegian indie pop band, which has a fast-paced bass line, punishing drums, and a solid guitar hook. It’s as simple as that. The record gets more fun as it progresses, the band themselves get more comfortable – as if for the first few songs they were worried they’d be found out for not being groundbreaking enough.
The reason you will hate this is simple: It feels like you should be at some kind of contrived indie disco. However, the only real downfall with this is that you’ll only lament no longer being a teenager, so you can legitimately attend that indie disco.
And the best thing about this record? It’s over inside of 30 minutes. But never, ever, take that as a negative. Misquote me out of context and I’ll be forced to sue.