mercoledì 22 settembre 2010
Beh, ma quanto simpatico è questo disco? Il classico compendio del Brit Pop e allora vai con canzoncine solari, melodie immediate, rimandi vari (a volte quasi plagi veri e propri) a grandi del passato, power pop....insomma, il classico giro in giostra che piace tanto, ma che poi dopo 4 minuti ne hai le scatole piene. Però sono stati 4 grandi minuti, quello si! (1995 Righteous Records)
Thurman is a new English trio whose debut is full of catchy songs. This is no surprise, however, as the band has an amoral approach to songwriting: better to steal from the best than write mediocre originals.
Which would be fair enough if they wanted to record a set of covers, but instead they cough up a post-modern stew of regurgitated but undigested morsels of past pop meals.
Almost every song echoes another: "Loaded" is "Children of the Revolution," "Now I'm a Man" is Double Fantasy-era John Lennon, "Clowns" veers from the opening of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" through the Beach Boys and into Bowie. "Cheap Holiday" threatens to be Tears For Fears' "Seeds of Love" but turns out to be a Blur song.
Some might say that such appropriation can be justified by a number of factors: the post-modernist flair for excusing plagiarism, or the overwhelming nature of pop-consciousness, or the legacy of the British Invasion (Beat) bands' rise to prominence playing American R&B.
And it's true that many of the direct rip-offs on Lux may be unfamiliar to contemporary listeners, as the songs of Jimmy Reed were when the Rolling Stones covered them.
But early Stones, Beatles, Animals, or Yardbirds albums are littered with writing credits for the original artists - every song on Lux is said to have been written by Thurman.
Even the songs that don't pull a specific song title from your memory are clearly meant to sound like the various stars of current Britpop.
Put it this way: in 1966 the Knickerbockers' "Lies" was a good song, a hit, and its still fun to listen to.
But the Knickerbockers will never be remembered as more than a Beatles rip-off band - aiming for success not with a musical vision but with cold calculation (even if based on genuine admiration).
If Thurman is remembered, it will be in exactly such a light. With a modicum of justice, thurman actually will be remembered as "the Knickerbockers of the 90s": a definition that, like a Thurman song, has no inherent significance or content because it rests entirely on a reference to something else, lacking substance in itself. (Tim Mohr - http://www.westnet.com/)
Mention the term 'Britpop' and most people think of the Blur and Oasis chest pounding fights in the music press as to who was the greatest band in the world (neither came close) or Elastica's Justine Frischmann's sexy sneer in the 'Connection' video, but of course it was much more than that.
Blur were The Kinks of the modern age and Oasis wore the 'New Beatles' tag like the emperor's new clothes and all was right with the world.
It was a great time and a much needed finger at the face of the American grunge scene, which was fine by me since Britpop was the closest to a true power pop movement since the late 1970's - rule Britannia! Of course there were other bands that had some success as well including Cast, Menswear, Pulp and Ocean Colour Scene plus plenty of 'also rans' that tried to position themselves as the next big thing.
Anyone remember Powder, Sussed, Silver Sun, Bawl, Proper or Livingstone? Probably not and by 1997, Britpop had run its course, but there is one band in particular that got lost in the shuffle I think deserves another look here at Glory Daze - Thurman.
With their roots in the metal band 2 Die 4, Thurman received much criticism from the press who accused the group of jumping on the Britpop band wagon and although its just a guess - if Thurman's background had been in punk or garage rock, the press would have taken them far more 'seriously'.
The other reason Thurman were relentlessly dumped on; they were just way too derivative according to those in the know.
In light of Oasis' and their Beatles obsession this seems like a lot of sanctimonious hair splitting by a snobbish press, but whatever. In my opinion Thurman were the most listenable of the union jack brigade, mainly because there were no references to punk rock which I think held back many hard rock and AOR listeners from getting into the scene in the first place.
Thurman's music was pure power pop in the best tradition and while they clearly worshipped at the golden toes of T-Rex and The Kinks, the group wrote great tunes which the opener 'She's a Man' proves in spades.
Yes, 'Loaded' and 'Strung Out' updates the T-Rex glam pop sound which I can never get enough of and 'Cheap Holiday' resurrects 'Ziggy Stardust' period David Bowie but believe it or not, it still sounds fresh and is loads of fun and great rock 'n roll. 'It Would Be' takes on Oasis at their own game with a very Beatlesque track that's followed by The Kinks inspired 'English Tea' and is definitely one of the better tracks here.
The Ray Davies inspiration again takes shape with 'Lewis Brightworth' although they saved the best for last track with 'Flavour Explosion' that sounds incredibly like 'I Am The Walrus' colliding with Jellyfish in a swirling Beatles inspired fantasy world.
Easily available on CD, Thurman never recorded another album which is probably for the best.
I hate to think they would have listened to the negative feedback and change their style just to please a record company or the bozos in the press. One great record is all we need and Thurman delivered a Britpop/power pop classic. (http://www.glorydazemusic.com/)
- She's A Man
- English Tea
- Cheap Holiday
- It Would Be
- Now I'm A Man
- Flavour Explosion
- Lewis Brightworth
- Automatic Thinker
- Talk To Myself
- Strung Out