This post commemorates the idiosyncratic reverse of that culturally homogeneous rural Arcadia where every Sunday afternoon the vicar nibbles on scones with a coterie of bolshy spinsters prior to identifying the culprits of bloodless murders committed with the utmost respect for manners and station, a reverse which is utterly English all the same, but where the foxes strike back.
(Artwork above by Sarah Graham)
In â€˜Routemasterâ€™, The Bomber Jackets celebrate one of the icons of our highways, a gambolling blip of colour cursing the monotone transportation network that conveys labour and freight, watch it go, across a countryside that feels fake, like nature theorised by the avatars of post-industrialism (and simulated in Pinewood studios), in vectors tangent to office state-sprawls where life canâ€™t possibly exist yet it does (in an eerily mutated form), past beautiful power cathedrals belching scum into the grey fudge of our bog-standard sky (from which we are compelled to escape, thatâ€™s why we go underground).
They celebrate it in the same way the faceless trucker of Duel celebrated the small victories and poignant setbacks of a day in the life of a travelling salesman, or Kowalski celebrated the selfless sacrifices of the law enforcement forces. With utmost prejudice and a healthy dose of chaos, coming across like a primitive, dog-eared obsolete sociology paperback sourced at a charity shop reading version of Future Islands, and all the better for that.
Meanwhile, Please tap into a rich vein of collective celebration manifest in the hypnotic patterns of strings swirling around the Maypole, popular vaudevilleâ€™s raucous call and response, the gaudy splashes of colour in the safety standards incompliant death-wish incarnations of the funfair, and the uplifting DIY happening where hegemony busting attitudes are nourished with lovely music and homemade (oft vegan) cakes.
Their sound fits within a strange strain of uniquely British modern post-punk music which Upset the Rhythm have almost single-handedly championed, where proudly progressive tempo eccentrics and structural joy-riding unsettle/ are squashed within a festive C-86 pop armature â€“ paraphrasing what someone once said of Donald Barthelme, â€˜Much of the pleasure from listening to this music comes from the way it makes you feel welcome even as itâ€™s subjecting you to vertiginously high levels of entertainmentâ€™ â€“ it is out there, exciting and inclusive, which is more than most can say.
Talking about Upset the Rhythm, it is the Spaghetti Tree two-day Shindig in London this coming weekend. The first night features John Maus, Dan Deacon, Plug, Munch Munch and Design a Wave, which is as amazing a line-up as one is likely to get in one night anywhere. We will be playing a handful of records in between the acts together with the WFMU people. You should definitely get down, tix here.