There are new bands who exist only as a sort of musical live action role play for the band members and their audience. Lazily thumping at their instruments and braying their way through lyrics so mundane they make the notion of watching one of those Channel 5 “documentaries” about celebrities falling over appealing. They take the music and the bands they loved when they were kids and treat them with about as much care and affection as I show my own body as I work my way through an(other) tube of Pringles. Then they add insult to these myriad injuries by shouting loudly about the bands whose memory and catalogue they are, almost literally, pissing on.
I’m not a fan.
I approached Affleck’s Palace with some trepidation.
There are bucket hats.
Mutterings about something called “nu-Madchester” from some quarters.
I was, frankly, so terrified about what might be going on that I studiously avoided even listening to a single note.
But now we have “What Do You Mean It’s Not Raining” and I decided to confront my fears.
Maybe it would all be so utterly hideous that I could sit back with that smug look I usually have on my face and tell myself how clever I was to have called it right without even hearing anything.
Here are a band who love the bands that have inspired them so much that they feel that to do anything other than create something as delightful and delicious would be a crime. You can hear it on every beat and in every word. Love runs through every groove.
This is not Crap-a-OKAY.
This is not homage.
This is what happens when music moves you, inspires you and propels you to get up, stand up and do it for yourself. This is the sound of people who don’t want to sound like the bands they love, this is the sound of people who want to the band other people love. A crucial difference.
Yes, you can hear the ghosts of Joe Bloggs here, but it never overwhelms. This isn’t actually “nu-Madchester”, this is just gloriously new. Nothing here is turned up to eleven, instead everything floats and shimmers, there is a lightness of touch that suggests the people responsible really care…and nothing is more important in music than that the people making it care.
I have heard new music this year that has been flung out into the world with so little care that it has made me angry. Vocals that have been completed with a “that’ll do” carelessness. Production that is muddy, murky and miserable. Anaemic attempts to ape acts and artists that are an insult to those bands and to the audience. A jingle and a jangle on the guitar here and there is not evidence of a new Johnny Marr or John Squires.
Afflecks Palace sound exactly like you would want them to.
Inspired by, driven by, some of the great British bands…and more importantly they have, clearly, stubbornly, refused to do anything other than draw on that inspiration to create their own thing. No working men’s club impressionist here, no tribute band awfulness…this is the real deal and you should be glad they exist.