Remember back in the first half of 2002, when a scene sometimes called No Name, sometimes called Future Rock ‘n’ Roll, was written about as the best new thing in the world. Then the NME got a new editor…Of course, these bands didn’t go away. Some of them were really very bad, and some of them were average. Very few had anything in common with each other. At the time, I laughed at the very notion that Mclusky had anything in common with Electrelane. But now, I’m beginning to come round to the idea that there is a distinctive style of music emerging on the British scene. It’s indie based, and is serious about what it does, but at the same time has a kind of ridiculous element, though vaguely studied. The bands are kind of punky, but listen to US art rock, and old school indie. Online webzine Drowned In Sound seems to be its main promoter.

These two bands embody this style. It’s not a scene as such. I think it’s just that these bands have reacted similarly to the rest of the music scene. But, I think the idea of a ‘scene’ has much more to do with the fans that the bands. That’s why ‘emo’ is still a scene. Even if the bands disown it there are plenty of kids willing to identify with it as a music style and a lifestyle. This thing brings together bands with a common approach

The crowd tonight was pretty similar to a garage rock crowd, but the bands have little to do with garage rock. I kind of flirted very briefly with buying garage rock records, but I’ve come to hate it of late, for pretty much the same reasons I enjoyed this show. Garage rock bands are, on the whole, dealing with ideas in their words that are pretty meaningless to me. They aren’t being especially creative in their music. On the other hand though, both these bands have a pretty original approach.

It was Mclusky’s show, and they were very good. On record, I think they lack the extra bit that makes an excellent band. But, in the live arena, I have an enormous respect for them. They’re not at all serious in their songwriting. You can tell that from song titles like 'Lightsaber C***sucking Blues' or 'The World Loves Us And Is Our Bitch', and musically they seem to value highest rocking out. I like the fact that within a simple, basic template they have no obvious comparable points. This was a cool, bouncy rock/punk show and the band was genuinely funny. I liked Mclusky from the moment I saw them manning their own merch stand. They have a complete lack of pretension, and this is a lifestyle that they love. Their humour, their irony and their musical ability is so much more advanced than any garage rock band.

Jarcrew are newer, with just the one record out, 'Breakdance Euphoria Kids', and I’d only heard a little of them before this show. But I’ve never seen a band this young be so good before. They have a manic stage presence, unlike Mclusky’s human and easy going appearance, but it still seemed pretty natural, not forced. Each song they played was incredible. They have come from an indie base, but added the groove of Fugazi, the atmosphere of Slint and a pop sensibility. You know those conversations where people talk about their ideal band, and they say they’re gonna throw all these incompatible, incredibly cool bands together and come up with something new? Well, Jarcrew actually have done that. The music was always accomplished, original, arty. It was, however, also easy to enjoy. Like At The Drive-In, Jarcrew are both technically sophisticated and simple. They rocked, basically. But they still make you feel clever.

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Commenting On: Cavern, Exeter, 22/5/2003 - Mclusky/Jarcrew

ie London, England

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