Redneck Manifesto, Joan of Arse & Papa M
Whelan's, Dublin 30th April 2000
A Pre-amble / Ramble:
Five years ago a thing called Britpop happened. There were a couple of good bands and much rejoicing. It was started off by these few good bands. They all had a cleverly designed little quirk that allowed them to establish sub-niches of the market. Everyone was happy. We had relatively decent music in the charts. The record companies were still making more than they deserved and the bands who were writing their own music were getting paid and paid well. Then loads of other bands came along and they were all sh*t. Our journo friends in leather trousers and Jimi Hendrix t-shirts didn't like any it more and decided to stroke the b**ls of some other fad until that too became mainstream.
It is now the turn of the American lo-fi scene. Tortoise, Slint andYo La Tengo - a lovely bunch of people who make excellent music. The hacks love them. The only thing is - similar to the Britpop thing - there are lots of bands now doing the same thing. Thankfully they're not quite as untalented. But duckies the thing is, it's the same principle. Don't be fooled that because they don't get p**sed on cheap lager and womanise that they're any better than the Britpop travesty. Standing still or sitting onstage with the image of world pain in your face playing a simple riff like you mean it does not necessarily mean it's good. The point is it's the same monster with a different costume.
So it's time to separate the men from the boys. The crowd have packed into Whelan's tonight due to a mix of interest in tonight's main course and appetisers and partly to bring down their Easter eggs to compare with their mates.
We kick-off with the Redneck Manifesto. By all accounts a pretty skillful bunch. Mixing and layering sounds and riffs with great craft in the vein of Mogwai. The same can be said of Joan of Arse except with more of a rock edge. There are moments when they display ability to do something really interesting.
Papa M 's latest recordings suggest a mellower almost trance-like layering of guitar riffs over samples using the bass to hold melodies while the guitars twist and repeat themselves over and over. Papa M has done this quite well but on tonight's display the pervading question was not about how the music sounded.
All of these bands have gallons of talent, musical proficiency and potential but it is unrealised. It is as simple as asking are there too many bands doing the same thing? The answer is yes. The first two bands are in their infancy in comparison to some of the members of Papa M and will more than likely develop a sound which no longer pays too much homage to what already has come and gone.
David Pajo of Papa M, through his involvement in the past with Slint, has been one of the innovators and most inspiring musicians of the past few years, should know better. It is one thing having no talent to use but having talent and not using it is unforgivable. Go to the back of the class.