Posts Tagged ‘2020’

31st December 2020

London-based alt-rock quartet Ben Wood & The Bad Ideas have certainly been keeping busy, and ‘Soho’, released on new years’ eve, is their twelfth – and understandably final – single release of 2020.

There have seen various debates as to the sagacity of releasing a single a month over an album with attendant singles, not least of all around the logistics of promotion (with many suggesting it’s easier to promote an ‘event’ like an album release and building up said release and marketing it with singles rather than the singles being the event in themselves, but 2020 has undoubtedly seen a shift in how music is consumed.

Attentions spans are different and while everyone needs something to look forward, the future always seems to be a distant horizon: in this context, a monthly delivery and a more frequent level of engagement feels ‘right’ somehow, fostering a much-needed sense of community and sustained contact.

With Wood and co inviting comparisons from across a broad range of touchstones spanning The Gaslight Anthem and Arctic Monkeys to Elvis Costello & The Attractions and The Associates, ‘Soho’ is a quintessential indie tune with jangling guitars pinned to a tight rhythm section. It’s not just a Smiths meets Wedding Present throwback stylistically, but a song that captures the essence of classic indie rock tunes of yesteryear, merging boy-meets-girl with kitchen sink drama while throwing in appreciative references to Marianne Faithful. It does very much call to mind the time when Morrissey was someone who wrote relatable songs, before he became quite explicitly an embarrassing racist bellend who rendered is entire back-catalogue unlistenable. More than we hate it when our friends become successful, we hate it when our heroes reveal themselves to be vile, obnoxious pricks.

Ben shows no such indications, thankfully, and ‘Soho’ is an accessible, melodic slice of clean indie pop. It’s accompanied by a video that sees Ben wandering the streets of London, and seeing them bereft of people is strange, unreal almost. There is traffic, busses and bicycles, but benches are empty and the Eye is static.

This, of course, is the world in which we find ourselves, and in counterpointing a song which very much centres around the ordinary, the everyday, with the extraordinary times of the now, Ben Wood presents a striking statement that’s very much a summary of 2020.

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Ben Wood _ The Bad Ideas - Soho Cover

That 2020 has been relentlessly shit requires no qualification. Its shitness is almost as unprecedented as the unprecedented overuse of the word unprecedented. Only, you’d think that meant there’d never been a plague or viral pandemic before, but there has, so what’s unprecedented is the shitness of the way it’s been managed, on a global scale. Despite the unprecedented shitness, or perhaps because of it, it’s been a remarkable year for new music already, and it’s suddenly just got even better, with a new cut from Blacklisters, far and away one of the most outstanding noise rock bands of the last decade.

‘Sports Drinks’ prefaces the arrival of a long, long, long awaited new album, Fantastic Man, due out in August. And it’s a fucking belter. Check the video here: