Saturday, 30 June 2012

(I Should Be A) Communist by This Many Boyfriends

This Many Boyfriends
(I Should Be A) Communist
Angular Records

I had an interesting conversation with my line manager at work the other day, when we should have been discussing my none existent aspirations for career development. It was, you won’t be surprised to hear, about music. He was telling me how much he was looking forward to seeing Coldplay at the weekend. Before having the chance to stifle my frowns and sniggers, he pre-empted me.

“I know it’s not cool but I just like the songs. I’m no music snob, I just like a good tune and I think they’re great.”

And you know what? Fair enough I thought. I guess I am a musical snob and if Chris Martin and Co. makes his time in our shit job easier: fair enough. But then he asked me about how I go about reviewing music. “Isn’t it just your opinion? How can you really say what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ music?”

And I thought that was interesting because I quickly realised a lot of it is about instinct. I told him how I don’t look at genre, at the melody or the musicianship but try and see behind it. I look for the intent and the purpose of it. The ethics and the honesty. Because I care about music as a whole, as an artform. And to me, cynical and trend based stuff works against that.

He kinda got it. We found a great comparison in that he really likes motorbikes. LOVES em. And he gets really annoyed in these big Hollywood films when they have the wrong engine noise dubbed over or people do stuff that just isn’t possible. As a lover of bikes he feels it devalues the whole idea of what he loves. We’d found a connection.

This Many Boyfriends are a great example of looking beyond all the signifiers and just knowing a thing is exactly as it should be, on its most instinctual level. Driven by love and passion and joyful abandonment, they are a band that I only really got live before, but this record goes someway to redressing that balance. Produced by Ryan Jarman, it is a sparse, bouncing slice of IndiePop and its most life affirmingly simple. It transports me to seeing The Jesus And Mary Chain in New York a few years back for its reverberating, circling hints at greater things, yet never lost in any form of pretension. It’s a bizarre tonal mix of being spontaneous and well crafted, like a perfectly mic’d up take of the first time they ever ran through the song in their lives. The freshness is there and shines through.

Title aside, the lead track is a carefree rumination upon the minor but life consuming concerns young carefree people have, and how the simple things in life are the greatest. B-side How Is This Even A Job? has Morrissey esqe shrugs towards employment in the face of being in a band. Both songs barely scrape two minutes, which is perfect. Honesty in absolute.

So if Coldplay appreciation can be held up as the 101 of an opposition to musical snobbery then This Many Boyfriends are my Exhibit A for the case of a musical purity. This isn’t the best song I’ve ever heard, nor the best production, best musicianship or the best lyrics. But it just feels completely right which to me is a much more beautiful and delicate thing.

Dean Freeman

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