The ship of indie rock being commercially successful has – let’s face it – long sailed. What we are instead left with is a world populated only by super-fans and the casual observer briefly passing through on their way to listening to the latest Skepta release. It’s a world which for some reason has been captured by one (or two??) words – lo-fi. The scratching, wondering tendencies, minor key of Pavement have been appropriated by scores and scores of new guitar bands.
You might say that’s great for indie – Pavement are, after all, one of the great bands of the last few decades. But (besides the commercial implications of having an entire genre inspired by a band who never charted on the singles chart, ever) lo-fi music is unfortunately one of those genres that when done shit, is really shit, like Punk, Shoegaze or House. There is literally nothing more annoying then 3 minutes of hookless, minor key, dirgey feedback with some skinny kid singing lyrics over it which Chris Martin would have rejected as too dull, which unfortunately is what the majority of this music is made up of. Hooton Tennis Club, Hinds, Joanna Gruesome – I’m looking at you.
So the majority of indie is made up of a genre where the majority of the music it contains is awful, and when it’s awful it’s really awful. All we can do is what happened to major key in guitar music? Where are the next Foals, Wombats or Oasis? Why has everyone forgotten that The Libertine’s and Stroke’s – the two messiahs of Indie rock – best songs were bouncy, poppy affairs that made you want have a good time? Most of the dirge-indie of today just makes you want to cry. I don’t want to cry.
The answer lies in the fact that in the late noughties there was a huge commercial exorcism of ‘landfill indie’ – remember The Automatic, The Klaxons? – which thrived off of poppy, major key radio ready singles. When the commercial viability of this fell through, for whatever reason new bands started to reject this style of music altogether. Camden rejected the thing which had made it cool.
But fear not. There is one corner of guitar music where upbeat music by new bands exist. The Beach-rock of Real Estates, Circa Waves and Dutch Criminal Record looks to another point in time, aside from the early noughties – where the music was just about having a good time; the 60’s. Mixing the winding influences of the Beach Boys with the populist template given by the last wave of indie rock forms somehting totally new (an unbelievable feat in this tired genre) – tracks which appeal to your pop sensibilities as well as satisfying you desire to hear something a little bit different. It works beacuse it produces positive music without sounding like landfill indie.
On this single – with a surf ridden verse and a straight out 4/4 chorus – Dutch Criminal Record appear to have perfected the format, and a nice little format it could yet turn out to be.