The Bishops’ self titled debut album is like a very good piece of fanfic. If you don’t know what fanfic is, then you’re obviously less geeky than me (and them, come to that). Fanfic refers to the masses of fan-written scripts and short stories based on cult TV shows or movies that can be found on the net. While this is probably an entertaining test of creativity and a good way of honouring your heroes, it will never be anything more than fanfic and is ultimately a bit of waste of time, for both the writer and the reader. This is true of The Bishops. Over thirteen tracks, they do an excellent job of emulating early period Beatles. Of course, that doesn’t mean they come close to, or indeed top The Beatles, so you might as well just buy an actual Beatles record.
It’s difficult to pick favourite tracks because none of them really stand out. They’re all basically good, with nice melodies and decent guitar playing, and quite crucially, are pretty short (which is a quality too many bands overlook). But at the same time, they stick to the same formula and after a while it all just blurs into one. It also sounds slightly underpowered, save for a few occasions (notably the guitar as machine gun opening to Breakaway) when it almost bears a resemblance to the Arctic Monkeys, rather than The Fab Four. In fact, the Arctics are probably closer than The Bishops to capturing the spirit of The Beatles, if only because they’re not slavishly retreading old ground.
Whether or not The Bishops appreciate the constant comparisons to The Beatles is hard to tell. As fans, they’d probably be flattered, even if they always come off the worse. But it’s not much of a life, mechanically repeating the best moves of your idols. This album is quite fun, but it displays nothing original at all and so there’s not much of an impetus to actually remember it (unless it’s as that album that sounds exactly like The Beatles). There’s evidently the talent in the band for them to produce something of their own, something that doesn’t owe such a massive debt to another source, just as those people who wile away their hours penning the further adventures of the Starship Enterprise could probably invest their abilities into something original. Such is the way of fanfic…
By the way, fact fans, there are more direct references to The Beatles than there are to The Bishops in this review. Either this is my lazy writing, or a telling commentary on the failings of this album. Probably the first, though.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 02:39:50