I groaned to myself. A mate of mine, who was about to drive us home, was reaching for his in-car CD wallet. Cue one miserable journey in the gloomy rain worsened by some terrible whiny vocals and flat guitar riffs coming from the stereo. Beats pecking at my head, irritating me, daring me to scream out "ENOUGH! HOW CAN YOU LISTEN TO THIS SHIT!" and toss the disc out into the ever-mirky Sankey Canal. Hmmm... plan of action. A-ha! "Hang on a sec, I've just bought this, buddy. Let's give it a listen." To my delight, he agreed, and so I grabbed my newest addition to my record collection, hastily shoving the round slice of spent wages into the CD slot.
Only five seconds in and I'm being bombarded with laughter, accompanied by "what the FUCK have you bought this piece of shit for! It sounds just like Franz Ferdinand!" Looking down at the case in my hands, I was struggling to remember just why I bought the new Dead 60s album in the first place. My friend was right. The chances are this will be far too close to the recent early `80s revival for comfort. All the indie bumboys will be touting this as the next big thing, and I'd just bought into it. The sticker on the front of the album further backed up my fears as I read praise from NME, Esquire, Mojo and Uncut. I stared out the window and prayed to the God of traffic lights to help end my journey sooner.
Back in my room, the record caught my eye from my desk. I was unsure, but I did remember a bass line that reminded me of "Whatever happened To?" by the Buzzcocks. That alone was worth giving it another shot. Besides, the weather's terrible. I laughed as the first five seconds from "Riot Radio" came on, reminding me of Franz once again. Keep an open mind, I had to tell myself. Sure enough, within thirty seconds I was awarded with a catchy chorus and within a minute I was tapping my feet and singing along. The Buzzcocks-esque moment turned out to be the second track, "A Different Age." That, too, was pretty decent. As was the rest of the album. More on that in one paragraph...
...If you're like me, you're convinced that the recent indie explosion/early `80s revival was purely accidental. It seems more like the natural "evolution" from early `90s Britpop and today's big-hitters such as Franz, the Killers, the Ordinary Boys (who I could have sworn were a Jam tribute band when I heard them) aren't imitators by choice; the similarity is actually coincidental, not intended. This is where the Dead 60s seem different to me. They seem to wear their influences on their sleeve and play music they enjoy, rather than trying to invent something new based on the music they grew up with. Which, by the way, judging by this album, is the Clash, the Specials and Madness. Those three are a fairly safe assumption, in my eyes. Of course there are others, but those three are all you need to know. Don't forget to add in the spooky sound effects, and you have the Dead 60s.
Back to my bedroom. With the rain still lashing at my window, I was feeling quite spooked. I just couldn't help it. The album is quite spooky. Just check out "Ghost Faced Killer" to see what I mean. It's also funky (see "Loaded Gun"). Other words that sprang to mind were "dub" ("Soul Survivor"), "desolate" ("Train to Nowhere"), and "skank" (the excellent "You're Not the Law"). Finally, the one way I could sum it up was "Indie Disco." This album would be absolutely perfect in the smoky, dingy underground discos of Liverpool's indie scene. However, you have to remember what bands are also perfect in that scene, and you end up thinking of the previously mentioned influentials. This, my friends, is in no way superior to anything that's come before it. It's an enjoyable effort and one I can approve quite readily, but it's hard to heartily recommend. Essentially, there are so many albums you should buy before this.
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