Friday, 29 July 2011

25. Viva Brother - Famous First Words

This is abysmal. It makes Beady Eye sound like My Bloody Valentine. It makes me puke up the soles of my feet.

So that's the review sorted then. But then the devil on my shoulder began whispering in my ear. It's such a terrible record, it's an open goal, and many people will be saying the same thing in newspapers, magazines, websites, in tweets. Jesus, people will be stopping strangers in the street to tell them how bad this album is. So why not go the other way? Why not try to defend it? Look for a single positive and take it from there. They're just four lads, it's just an indie pop album made by not very bright people, don't let it get to you... But no, because (pomposity warning) music is important. It can be joyful, beautiful, angry, funny. It can make you think, it can make you dance like a motherfucker, cry like a drain. It can change people's lives, it might even, sometimes, occasionally save lives. In short, it's too important to let people get away with crap like this.

Think about that moment when a band goes into a studio and the tapes are still clean (it's an analogue studio), not a note recorded. Think of all the things they could put onto the tape, the instruments, the imagination they could use. The possibilities are endless. Anything can be done. And think about what has been done. To name a few: Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Prince, Public Enemy, Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, the Milltown Brothers. Of course, not everyone has the divine talent of these artists, and it would be unfair to approach every album with expectations of greatness, but everyone can try, everyone can show a tiny bit of ambition can't they? Well, apparently not. Which brings us to Viva Brother.

Imagine the dullest, ploddiest, least imaginative, stupidest of the britpop bands. Now put them in a blender. That feels good doesn't it? Really squash those bastards in there. Hang on Heavy Stereo, where the fuck do you think you're going? Get in the blender! Turn the setting to 'dismal' and plug in. Pour the sludge created into your stereo/computer/ipod. Press play. The sound coming out, that's Viva Brother. It's weedy, wet, drab, and cold. Every song is worse than Digsy's Dinner. In interviews they've claimed to have written the best songs of the last 20 years. They haven't written the best songs of the last 20 minutes.

Now for some good news. You are not the A&R person who signed this lot. Unless you are, and then I don't have the words for you. But the good news for the rest of us is that no matter how much our lives crash and burn, even if we find ourselves with liver failure, begging outside an arcade on the front at Blackpool on a freezing Friday night with drunken stags throwing cold bits of half-chewed kebab meat at our head - just remember, we didn't sign Viva Brother. WE WILL NEVER BE THE PERSON WHO SIGNED VIVA BROTHER. There will always be that.

But this will not do. This will not do at all.


  1. Great review of a horrific album. The more condemnation this abysmal band get, the better - the quicker they will be forgotten.

  2. Thanks James, but maybe we should just ignore it and hope it will go away like a wasp? But if I see a wasp I go mental and make a lot of flappy noises, like the above review...

  3. Track four's an ear-stabber.