2009 – 当今 (9 年)
Viva Brother are the latest UK hype band to emerge seemingly from nowhere, this time making self-proclaimed "Grit Pop." The term is an obvious nod to Britpop but also to their hometown of Slough (which, by the way, still isn't half as gritty as Pulp's early 1990s Sheffield). A large part of how they have made it this far has to do with their loudmouth posturing in the British indie press and in public starting their second ever gig with the line "If anyone here doesn’t want to see the future of music, leave now."
That kind of sassy talk has polarized the UK press but at least puts them leagues ahead of countless other faceless major label bands in the personality game. However, all that bluster and boasting comes undone when listening to Famous First Words and you realise they actually don't have anything to say at all. The songs range from a parade of clichés to the plain ridiculous, none more so than "I met the mermaid and I showed her just how to run," from "False Alarm", a song that also relays an imagined conversation with a tornado. Those kind of ideas come across as an unintentionally hilarious attempt to out-stupid Oasis at their most obtuse, but even the Gallaghers had enough sense to qualify their non-sequiturs with lines about getting high. Also, at least somebody in "Champagne Supernova" was having fun, because let's be clear– nobody on this record is having fun, not you the listener nor any member of Viva Brother.
Musically, things are just as drab and any hint of an interesting idea on Famous First Words can easily traced back to a much more appealing root. Take opening track "New Year's Day" for example and its wordless chorus, lifted almost directly from the coda of Blur's "Girls and Boys", but replacing that bands cheeky charm with try-hard conviction. And then there's "Otherside", which opens with a promising Chameleons-like guitar line before descending into yet more chugging guitar and infant grade lyrics. This time Newell recounts the places he has been leaving his head– at the end of the phone, by a bedside light– before sneering "I got a job/ That I don't want". It's pretty brainless stuff, the special kind that makes you feel somehow stupider for having listened.
Look, It's easy to see why Viva Brother were given a shot at the big time– the dual allure of a Britpop revival and four arrogant young men with guitars must have been impossible for record execs to resist. But in execution the whole thing comes off as nothing more than a thinly disguised, crass attempt to smoke latent Oasis fans out of hiding. Unfortunately for them, Beady Eye already beat them to the punch.
01. New Year’s Day
02. Still Here
04. High Street Low Lives
05. Electric Daydream
06. Darling Buds of May
08. Fly By Nights
09. False Alarm
10. Time Machine
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