Viva Brother - Famous First Words
Despite the whispers of a supposed Britpop revival, it's perhaps truer to say it never really went away. No sooner than we show the likes of Hard-Fi and The Enemy the door than another wave of acts are upon us, as if a small coterie of ambitious young men are parked up somewhere just off Carnaby Street biding their time. We lay the blame entirely at the feet of Liam Gallagher of course; his continued profile, whether in Oasis and now Beady Eye, or in the pages of the fashion magazines with his Pretty Green clothing line has kept moddish togs and Weller cuts to the fore, allowing men of vintage to grow old disgracefully and their kids to pull Grandpa's Vespa out from the back of the garage.
Viva Brother, almost more than anyone, typify the notion, bringing openly Oasis-inspired tuneage to this summer's festival stages and a few Morrissey support slots. In some respects they probably curse Liam's new project; robbing them of their raison d'etre they seem redundant before they've even begun, but with surprising major label support and some decent PR, they've delivered a competent debut that almost makes you forget they were once emo band Kill The Arcade.
Taken at face value, Famous First Words is pleasant enough fare and will find an audience among a certain demographic. (If you have five minutes to spare, go browse a mod revival forum, where a tendency to latch onto anything with the merest whiff of 1965/1979 saw some of my teenage mod-ish mates latch onto Swing Out Sister because of the singer's Vidal Sasson-inspired bob cut.) The guitar work owes much to the choppy rhythms of the Kaiser Chiefs' Andy White, the melodies are pure Gallagher, even down to oft-repeated trick of slipping into a falsetto when the occasion demands. And yet, 'Still Here' is naggingly catchy; 'David' the Blur b-side you never knew you'd overlooked. But 'Electric Daydream''s clumsy attempt at 'Champagne Supernova' epic status drowns in its own sense of pastiche. One listen will be all the less-forgiving require to dismiss them for good.
It takes balls to be quite so brazen, to sit on the shoulders of giants and just go for it. Viva Brother have had 'Rock 'n Roll Star' echoing around their heads for 20 years now. They're living the dream - albeit temporarily.