512 words on Music
Somehow I’ve started this little theory about every month getting its own band this year which is hyped throughout a wide range of publications. Making it to the arts pages of the serious press and the title pages of the music magazines. While I assume that this ‘idea’ isn’t original at all and rather a consequence of the marketing you can buy for serious money, I still like it. If only because Adam Green was the cover boy in January, quickly followed by Bright Eyes in February and Bloc Party in March. I somehow failed to spot a clear winner for April – perhaps because I wasn’t in Germany for half of the month or because the magazines couldn’t sync their minds sufficiently – so we are in May, for which the winner seem to be Maxïmo Park.
The fun with the band starts with their name – which thanks to their needlessly umlauted (well, ï isn’t really an umlaut but you can’t say dieresis either as the extra dot doesn’t split the pronunciation in a place where it wouldn’t have been split anyway, so I’m not sure how to call this as I consider the classification as heavy metal umlaut not to be justified by the music) will make iTunes’ problem with filtering accented characters more apparent: When just searching for ‘maximo’, nothing of the band will be found and you’ll have to enter ‘maxïmo’ properly to find anything. As most people probably don’t even know how to enter the letter ï in the first place, that’s less than ideal. (Interestingly, though, iTunes does seem to normalise the Unicode before doing any matching, so at least the invisible differences between letters won’t hurt your search results. Furthermore iTMS does list the bands name with a simple ‘i’ in its usual poorly edited way, although iTMS searches will happily find umlauted vowels if you enter the vowel only.)
While one of my flatmates and most of the public where quite thrilled by their album A Certain Trigger, I immediately started disliking their cover art and didn’t find their music too inspiring either. That’s not too say they are actually bad. You can listen to it without suffering any irreparable damage. No problems there. The music will even make a nice background sound for a summer barbecue or a loud dinner. And, for sure, certain songs, such as the single Graffiti with the charming line
I’ll do Graffiti, if you sing to me in French / why don’t you do it here if romance isn’t dead may make it all the way to the dancefloors with their energy; or Postcard of a painting –
Picture me with you / but you couldn’t do it / everything I said / was true but I couldn’t prove it – may stay in my memory.
But in total I find the record a bit uninspiring, the sound just that odd bit too smooth and perfect, the rhythms just that little bit too purposefully offbeat and fittingly stylish. And altogether perhaps a little bit too forgettable.
If the hype cycles in the German music press are roughly in sync with the British press and the American indie press then Kaiser Chiefs were probably the “it band” for the weeks you missed. :)
I like the Bloc Party record but I still think that I’d give the nod to Engineers for 2005 so far.
I don’t think the Kaiser Chiefs were it. They didn’t get too much attention over here (but were on KLM’s in-flight ‘indie’ music channel when I came back from Cape Town… fun as they seem to have nicked their name from Sowetan football team). I wasn’t too impressed by their music but I’m going to see them at the Haldern festival in August, so I can get a better impression.