The Indelicates: American Demo
Because this is a labour of love and I don’t need to try to keep up, for commercial or personal reasons, I’m now going to tell you how much I liked a record that came out in the spring of this year. The Indelicates are sharp, witty, and sardonic, but never flippant, sentimental or arch. They seem genuinely in love with what they do, while aghast that anyone would care so much for such a rotten industry; more than any other band I’ve heard recently they sum up the frustrated passion that we have for pop. If you have ever thought how limiting the ‘guilty pleasures’ argument is, then this is a band for you.
This album covers many things: the collapse of feminism (‘Our Daughters Will Never Be Free’), posh British fascist Unity Mitford (who was up and about so soon after her suicide attempt because she’d made the mistake of shooting herself in the head, tish boom), ‘the good heroin that rock stars take’ (‘Heroin’), the vapidity of following youthful fashion long after you’re old enough to know better (‘Sixteen’) and much more. And the music is lively enough to make this more than a series of pamphlets you can listen to. Of course we have heard this sort of thing before: the Auteurs, for starts. The Manics. Pulp. Art Brut. Johnny Boy. Even the shout out to supporter Jim Bob makes sense. But it’s their songs about songs that really hit home. ‘If Jeff Buckley Had Lived’ describes an alternative world where he tastes success but the knives inevitably come out, a kind of companion piece to the earlier song ‘Waiting for Pete Docherty To Die’, which traced the corrosive effect of our fascination with celebrity and disaster.
The album starts and ends with this problem: ‘The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is a requiem for the genre (‘this cruel, deceptive, vicious thing’) which is a pretty bravura way to start an album. The way you end it is with the fantastic ‘We Hate The Kids’, which lambasts bands and biz – ‘boys who should know better grin and get high/With fat men who once met the MC5’ – but then points out that while ‘there’s always a crackhead charismatic liar’ around for us to follow, ultimately, of course, that charisma, suffering and fame is our fault: ‘its no good saying it’s not in your name/’cause it is in your name’. Which brings us back to Pete. And Amy. And the rest.
I’m not sure they have a solution, which is fair enough – this is, as I said, a record about wanting to kill the thing you love. It certainly makes you think, and is painfully honest, which is more than you can say for most music. Though I think they’re joking about Bill O’Reilly. Here’s a couple from the album and one more for luck:
‘The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock ‘n’ Roll‘ – The Indelicates – American Demo
‘We Hate The Kids‘ – The Indelicates – American Demo
‘Waiting For Pete Doherty To Die‘ – The Indelicates