Photo story: The argument for the UK having the best bands feat. Black Peaks @ King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
The UK has the best rock bands in the world just now and here’s why: UK bands can’t make up their mind about who they want to sound like.
American bands love ripping off their idols. So much so they’re almost identikit. “European sounding” is a phrase I’ve actually seen in what passes for music journalism these days, so Europe must have a thing of their own too I guess. Probably just means they like ABBA. Or something vaguely disco anyway.
The UK though, like the language of the island, is a musical bastard child. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, rip off this, re-arrange that...and you have...well..something else.
Since this is the internet, and without content it is but nothing, here's my key example in favour of this argument: Black Peaks.
Black Peaks might not be at the crest of this wave of modern British rock, that’s probably bands like Marmozets (if you’ve good taste) and Royal Blood (if you have misinformed taste), but they are the prime example of what makes British rock bands just now so exciting.
Black Peaks sound isn’t just about the mixture of influences, it’s about how stark the contrast is between those influences and how skilfully they wave those disparate influences together.
There’s the kind of quirky arrangements that made early Biffy Clyro so compelling and there’s blast beats. There’s the grace and sophistication of Tool and angular chaos. There’s progressive arrangements and immediate hooks that would put Weezer to shame. There’s a deep lyrical concept and nothing resembling the lack of self-awareness prog rock usually demands.
There’s also a voice that veers from a thundering roar to glass shattering shrieks and all the way back again to delicate intimacy and soaring melodicisms. Also a pretty smashing moustache.
It seems obvious that a modern band with a bit of tech savvy can put any sort of puzzle together on record, but the fact this band really come together live. The band’s musical dexterity goes without saying, but their performances are powerful, enthralling and totally thrilling.
The intensity of their music is offset by an obvious passion for playing music and having a blast doing it. Their shows are good natured rock ‘n’ roll fun in between blasts of emotionally complex and musically challenging songs. Quite how the whole band maintain being upright given everything about them seems to involve balancing on a tightrope is beyond me.
The wave may be well underway, but with a band like Black Peaks being the power propelling it forward with their fearless experimentation it’s going to be incredible when it finally hits the shore.
Hell, maybe it’ll even force the NME to take rock music seriously again...