We’re going back to London 2002 for this week’s Rewind. This time we’re looking at the debut self-titled record from The Music, a Leeds-based dance-alt-rock band with all of the potential in the world, being heralded as the best unsigned band in the UK prior to their signing to Hut. I was in London for a summer internship and my evenings largely consisted of sitting on my window sill watching the sunset with the TV on tuned to the British music channels. Of all of the many tracks that hit me that summer, it was The Music’s ‘The People’ that struck me the hardest. The album was yet-to-be-released by the time I was heading back to the U.S. and it took some hard work, but I finally tracked it down somewhere on Boylston St. in Boston. To this day, I still say it was one of the best recordings of the Naughties.
The Music is a big record, employing a ‘wall of sound’ approach to create the textures. I think that the thing that grabbed me the most about this record though, was the band’s ability to create highly danceable grooves behind this big wall of sound. Prime examples of this are ‘The Truth is No Words’ and ‘The People’. Frontman Rob Harvey accentuated this with his magnificent stage presence, encouraging the audience to move as he seemingly floated about the stage on the wings of funky dance moves while belting out energetic lyrics in his uniquely-pitched voice.
There is an element of futuristic psychedelia to the album that may have been the main reason why The Music never quite made it all the way to the top. Many of the tracks on the record have a certain ‘jammy’ quality about them that is sheathed in drippings of electronica, perhaps making them slightly less commercial and radio-friendly, which is also exactly the reason that I was drawn to them – they were different than anything I was hearing on the airwaves at that time. To me, the track most overlooked on this brilliant album is the 6 1/2 minute sneak attack ‘Disco’. It opens up at a very deliberate pace, slogging away in a down tempo signature with Harvey hanging onto almost every word for measures at a time. About 2 minutes however, the track starts the launch progression, moving into double time while Rob sets up the break. It’s then that guitarist Adam Nutter (awesome name) drops the wah pedal on us as Harvey wails out “Can’t dream, whatcha gonna do now?”. It’s a banger of a track and still to this day I get the chills when the break drops.
2002 was a pretty special year for music, but I’m going to say that The Music’s eponymous release was the top offering of the year for rock n roll. With so many hooks and a vibe that makes you want to dance, it’s an album that should be in every rock lovers collection. Unfortunately for all of us, however, The Music decided to hang up their boots last year, playing their farewell tour in Japan and the UK last June.