Club NME Specials
Little Comets ask if we really need The Geordie Nation playing Graceland? More
Written By Michael Wood Friday, February 19th, 2010
Little Comets, The Chapman Family and Frankie and the Heartstrings Club NME Specials at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
A few years ago I was in a round table discussion over the new bands of a year that promised Vampire Weekend which someone described as "The Strokes playing Graceland". On hearing the preppy New Yorkers I remarked that they sounded more like Paul Simon playing Graceland and the debate moved onto the way that the beloved NME had a habit of describing bands in reference to other bands conjoined with a few outlandish phrases.
"Debbie Harry punching 10CC in the face with a knuckle duster that was previously used on Led Zep" is great to read but says nothing. Such is the problem with talking about music. One needs references but references pigeon hole and that is far too restrictive for something as sprawled as tunesmithery.
Nevertheless watching NME's wandering night of bands and see Newcastle four piece Little Comets one is forced to ask if we really need The Geordie Nation playing Graceland. Which is not to say that Little Comets are over reliant on the bunch of World Music clichés which have come to be summed up by the word Graceland in the last few years just that the 1986 album would feature in some musical Venn diagram of their output.
So, I speculate, would many other things. They have the regulation indie influences that come strapped to an electric guitar on purchase for sure - a dash of The Libertines colours everything since - but they add to it is smart pop sensibility constructing nice three minute pop songs in a traditional manner. Perhaps that goes through a prism of a circuit in the North East which is rich with esoteric acts and high on narrative drama.
Joanna is the most obviously comparable tune but it is own way the song plays with those comparisons name checking with a knowingness. Do we need a bunch of Geordies playing Graceland? Certainly we do, especially when thrown into such an interesting mix that produces such an enjoyable broth. They are like Sting being force fed mushy peas by Tony Lacey while Diana Ross plays tennis, or something.
One Night In October lives long in the memory and Little Comets one regards a band worthy your attention I would say, and certainly commanding of mine.
Worth someone else's attention are The Chapman Family who strike the right notes for some but not for me. They are a touch on the heavier side although there style varies to a lighter shade at some points during the set. At times drop into a pastiche of Ian Curtis vocals which is a shame. Perhaps they are Joy Division weeping when listening to The Who while queueing for toilet at Guy Garvey's bar. Certainly Guy Garvey's bar's toilets are enough to reduce anyone to tears.
The bassist does mean things to a guitar but the singer should avoid wrapping the mic lead around his neck, it left a curious taste it the mouth. The kids are into them enough for me to say that they are ticking many boxes for many people.
Ticking other boxes are Frankie and the Heartstrings who plough the same furrow as Wild Beasts (...while being licked by Ross from The Futureheads who is drinking Sherry from a bottle he stole from Angela Lansbury) or The Sugars and in the song Hunger they have one of the catchiest things that could buzz into your head. They make a good account of themselves and fill the stage with a confident energy. They have growing to do as a band - perhaps like The Crookes need to they will find they grow away from such obvious rockabilly referencing - but should they expand in the right directions they could be very interesting indeed.