Monday, February 24, 2014

The Music - The Music - 2002

Jesus, The Music were too fucking talented for their own good.

With a band name as ambiguous as "The Music," you know a band had damn well better be planning on making a killer first impression. The first album, eponymous, from The Music in 2002 proved just that. They were not fucking around. Their music was big, blustery, accomplished, confident and a little crazy.

They were goddamn teenagers.

When the foursome got together in 1998, they were still in high school, and they wanted to blend some of the elements of modern electronic music with a classic rock feel, sort of Led Zeppelin bumping into the Chemical Brothers with a good dose of psychedelia thrown in. They had a style that was burning the candle at both ends,  the middle, where you were holding it and maybe even from the inside out. They put out a single in 2001, 1000 copies only, and it sold out immediately, with NME, the UK's equivalent of Rolling Stone, calling them "the best unsigned band in England."

When the album hit in 2002, I was already a raving fan for the band, having heard the single online and immediately having wanted more, so I was delighted to find that the whole album held up to that high standard. Their lead singer, Rob Harvey, sounded a lot like Geddy Lee from Rush. That was fine. Their guitarist, Adam Nutter, was evoking all sorts of wild sounds from his guitar. Stuart Coleman, the bassist, knew how to keep a groove going without overwhelming, and Phil Jordan was bashing out beats with his own personal flair.

Most of them were 19 when the album hit.

The album was only ten tracks long, but they were already being held up as the exciting new direction of rock'n'roll. I listened to the CD so much, I had to buy a second copy, because I was taking from my car inside my office back to my car and then back to my house and scratched it up, simply by proxy of so many changes. I eventually just left it in my car and used the second CD for home/work.

It wasn't all blistering loud/fast rock, either. They had the confidence to do these darker, more relaxed, expansive epic songs that bordered on blues, such as "Turn Out The Light," a song that feels like the end of a day that's just spiraling around the drain, refusing to go down, refusing to get better, refusing to move on, weary, world-wise... and this was their first damn album...

I remember thinking that either they were going to be utterly huge or they were going to flame out hard and fast. They sort of did both. They put out a second album, "Welcome To The North," in 2004, but it was clear they were starting to have problems, with Rob Harvey becoming a little more erratic. Eventually, it came out that he was battling substance abuse problems, but eventually he sorted himself out and the band prepped their "comeback" album with producer Flood, called "Strength In Numbers." It did okay, the band toured, and in 2010, they went back into the studio to start work on a fourth album, but Rob Harvey said he wanted to quit the band, and instead they just disbanded. They played a final couple of shows at Brixton Academy (which is available and should be picked up immediately) and they put out one last song free on their website from that aborted fourth album called "Ghost Hands" that was easily the strongest song they'd had in years, and I really liked all of their albums, so that's saying something.

Harvey's gone on to work with Mike Skinner, and there hasn't been any sign of the rest of the members of the band, which, to be honest, kind of pisses me off. I really want to know what the hell Adam Nutter has been up to, because the man was such an amazing guitarist, and he's got to be putting together a new band or a solo album or something.

All of The Music's albums were fantastic, but really, you should, at the very least, listen to their first one. Talent this good doesn't come along often.

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