Back in my day* indie music was consumed with occult dedication by its worshippers. Myspace was where we got it, and Islington was where we took it on a night out, the ethanol in our bodies crossing our blood-brain barrier faster than it ever would again in our lives thanks to a tip-off from everyone’s mate Smithy [lad] about a 65p drink called White Ace.
Indie’s troubling wilderness period, marked by the closure of various venues around London, and the ubiquitous national presence of ‘She’s So Lovely’, left the genre open to attack from commercial styles helmed by more media-savvy artists with slicker backers. Like all waves of indie before it, the billows eventually broke upon the shores of time and changing interests.
Except indie fought tooth and nail to survive, and almost managed it. Shopping (whose latest album comes highly recommended by me, if you were waiting for me to get to the point) emerged from the remains of Covergirl. They found artistic kinship amongst kindred spirits espousing queer and feminist ideologies in the musical haven of Power Lunches, an East London venue that, in an all-too-tragic and self-parodic pattern, closed down two years ago.
Collectively scarred by the decline and fall of ‘indie’ and all its connotations, we’ve relabelled it ‘DIY’, and as if keen to forget the sins of its past, it’s become even less compromising under this new moniker. What you’ll hopefully hear on The Official Body is a DIY album with massive crossover potential that finds its identity through not trying too hard to give a shit. Like The Raincoats thirty eight years prior, it’s an album made perfect by its imperfections. You’ll hear some fudged notes, like they probably should have pressed harder on the strings. You’ll hear little dissonances occasionally when they sing together. But most importantly, you’ll hear a group conscious of the fact that music is fun.
There exists another plan for this review, where I unpack the record on a finicky technical level, but for some reason I don’t think it’s as apt.
*The days of Underage Festival before the Great Fire of Nambucca.