26
Apr
08

New Art For the People: The Indelicates’ American Demo


I just received my copy of The Indelicates’ debut album, American Demo, in the mail (it was released in the UK on April 14), and I’m hugely impressed. I wrote about them earlier in my SXSW post, and I shall continue to rave about them. This English duo manages to combine elements from many of my favourite bands and artists – the satirical observations of Pulp, the voices of Luke Haines and Kate Bush, the melodies of The Auteurs. The two Indelicates (a moniker they each use as a surname), Simon and Julia, met at a Poetry Slam, hence, their lyrics are some of the best ones I’ve ever heard – they often take you by surprise and dwell in the shadows cast by the sunny music. And for someone who did their Honours BA in English Literature, lyrics are often a huge issue for me. Others have already appropriately compared The Indelicates with The Auteurs and Art Brut, but I would say that they go beyond wit for its own sake and make political statements about the state of the world today. At the same time, their politics feel like they’re wrapped up in a big pink bow of narrative. Personal losses and disappointments extend to a universal malaise, frustration and apathy.

The first two Indelicates tracks I ever heard were the contagious tongue-in-cheek ode to youth, Sixteen, and the up-tempo but bittersweet, Julia, We Don’t Live in the ’60’s, and both are included on this album. American Demo begins with New Art For the People Theme, a sweet orchestral piece led by a violin, which is an instrumental re-working of the later track, New Art for the People, a deliciously depressing dialogue between Simon and Julia about fighting for art’s sake in a fatuous environment and failing – in many ways, with its sense of broken dreams and misguided hopes, it feels like an updated version of Fairytale of New York. With a similar theme of disillusionment and loss, The Last Significant Statement to Be Made in Rock ‘n Roll, a song with driving guitars and Simon on lead vocals, sounds like The Auteurs meets Springsteen’s Born to Run. It also includes fantastic lyrics like “Once, in a corridor in Memphis/Was a singer took a breath/And wrote the birth of the teenager/Now we come to write his death,” which is one of the best lines about Elvis that I’ve come across. Our Daughters Will Never Be Free is a playful breakneck number complete with handclaps and Julia taking over breathless lead vocals while the lyrics lambast feminism and its many failures. Stars sounds like a tinkling music box as Julia sweetly croons, “I’m in love with the boy next door/He treats me like a filthy whore/I give him everything he wants for nothing in return.” Unsettling and twee at the same time…kind of like a song in a Tim Burton stop-motion animation.

One of my favourite tracks is …If Jeff Buckley Had Lived, a song that goes against the typical music fan’s reaction to his untimely death – rather than pity the waste of such talent and wonder how genius Buckley could have been if he had lived, The Indelicates predict that Buckley would have fallen flat by never being able to live up to his brilliant first and only album, and without his death, he wouldn’t have become the mythological figure he is now. The music itself in this song is beautifully melancholy and expansive with a pulsing rhythm, light piano, and gently whining guitars. Another song that I find fascinating is America, a stately tune with frenetic guitar arpeggios and a rather provocative take on America, taking the conservative stance and deriding England with its “weak-chinned snarls and red guitars.” The track Heroin once again reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with its passionate overwrought guitars and raspy vocals, and even though I don’t really like Springsteen, I enjoy it – perhaps because The Indelicates have hit upon an alchemical mixture of American bombast and English irony.

I’m going to include a couple of tracks from the album and then one particularly fabulous demo song, Waiting for Pete Doherty to Die, that was available for free download on their Web site. They say everything in this song that I would want to say about the state of the media, music industry and pretentious fans, and they do it much more eloquently than I could. In many ways, it’s a companion piece to the song We Hate the Kids on American Demo, a song which states: “And no one discusses what they don’t understand/And no one does anything to harm the brand/And this gift is an illusion, this isn’t hard:/Absolutely anyone can play fucking guitar/Oh yeah, we mean it/We hate the kids/Useless children genuflecting/To the idols who exploit them.” Despite the cynicism, The Indelicates do, indeed, make intelligent new art for the people. And I’m thankful for it.

New Art For the People – The Indelicates

…If Jeff Buckley Had Lived – The Indelicates

Waiting For Pete Doherty to Die – The Indelicates

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

Photobucket

So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

Photobucket

Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

Photobucket

Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

Photobucket

Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

Photobucket

Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

Photobucket

You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

Photobucket

I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding

Photobucket

You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black

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Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

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Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

Photobucket

Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

Photobucket

Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Photobucket

And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

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My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

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Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

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We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

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Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

Bravado

As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different

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LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

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Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

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You must let her go

She's not crying

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Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

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So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

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The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

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Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

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No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

Photobucket

All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

Photobucket

Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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