Can there be anything more pathetic, more toe-curlingly awful in the music industry than bands who reform?
I don’t mean artists who take time out to focus on solo careers, further their education etc and return to the fray shortly after- particularly if they haven’t been going long. LCD Soundsystem are one such act.James Murphy has many creative outlets, as both producer and musician, and gets bored being pigeonholed for any length of time.
I’m talking, simply about the lure of filthy lucre- the Guns ‘n’ Roses, Lush, Stone Roses route- where even bitter acrimony and public disputes from years ago are brushed aside when the ‘kerching’ of a reunion rings out and Jazz Odyssey plays on a terrible, interminable loop in your mind.
The recent reforming of the above bands made a part of my insides curdle. I cringingly admit to quite liking some Guns ‘N’ Roses stuff when I was about thirteen, but feel more comfortable revelling in the early 90s Lush infatuation of my late teens- swooning, Cocteaus guitar, Banshees rhythm section and fragile vocals, with two no-nonsense cool women front and centre in Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson, who were articulate and outspoken, particularly around gender issues. Wouldn’t get that with Axl and co, whose original Appetite For Destruction album cover featured a schoolgirl who had been raped by a robot. Sensitive and bookish, they were not.
Having heard the most recent Lush material, I wonder why they bothered. What’s the point? It just sounds like their old songs. And therein lies the problem- if your sound doesn’t evolve, give up. Dublin- based indie heroes My Bloody Valentine’s comeback album MBV proved this- it’s one thing to go with an ‘if it ain’t broke’ ethos, just don’t bore your fans with inessential material.
Some bands just know when to quit. Swede Europop ‘kitsch and sync’ purveyors ABBA and Manchester legends The Smiths, two bands I never thought I would mention in the same sentence, will never reform in spite of calls for them to do so, due to the former’s lead singer Agnetha Falkskog being somewhat of a recluse and the latter’s alleged antipathy towards each other.
Which is just as it should be. The nostalgia circuit is (mostly) fucking apalling and depressing. So many bands can’t reach the notes now. Have forgotten what made them interesting and relevant in the first place.Cheeky young scamps The Stones, anyone?Songs have become reduced to a bovine football chant, all meaning and passion spent.
I don’t want to look around at the audience in the soulless, corporate-sponsored aircraft hangar venue and see it as a poignant marker of time, pining for when I was slimmer, prettier, could dye my hair and not feel muttony and was full of cheap drugs, cheap cider and any kind of hope that life would be in any way kind or fulfilling. Ah, the cocooning arrogance of youth. God, now I sound like Morrissey.
Should quit while I’m ahead…