An old Brighton friend tipped me off to a brace of awesome new femme-pop sounds, this group first. Damn, she knows me well: how can I resist such outrageously harmonised and resonant pop? Everything about this is so, so crush-worthy.
Bangs damn it but there’s so much of this awesome echo-drenched, female-led pop around right now. LA band Neverever have but three songs up on their MySpace page – with an album Angelic Swells shortly to drop on Slumberland – but each one of those three songs is immaculate, heart-wrenching, filled with the sort of pop that made you never want to give up your Dansette record-player. Anyone who ever fell in and out of love to those early Go-Go’s B-sides, or had their hand held by Jane Wiedlin knows what I’m talking about. Anyone who ever had a heart…
A couple of years back, Neverever singer Jihae Jean Simmons’ move back to LA was the cause of the break-up of my former hidden crushes, Glasgow’s The Royal We… but, hell. It’s worth it, I realise that now. Much as it hurt to realise I would never see The Royal We perform live.
Here’s what I wrote about The Royal We in Plan B # 26.
The Royal We
The Royal We (Geographic)
“The world would be all wrong if Everett True wasn’t into The Royal We,” writes Stephen Pastel, Geographic label boss.
Of course it would be. The world wouldn’t be worth existing in if Everett True wasn’t into The Royal We. You can trust me on this. I’m an expert. The Royal We – six young idealists who came together in Glasgow in early 2006, drawn by that city’s musical lineage of Orange Juice and Belle And Sebastian, and yes, The Pastels – sound like Jonathan Richman, early Go-Go’s and early Aislers Set. Relocated Californian singer Jahae Simmons bounces and sings unashamed like Belinda Carlisle before she went all poolside on us, or Chrissie Hynde or someone. These are all massive plus points. The backing harmonies are all Shangri-La’s “woo-eee-wooo’s” and sporadic, shouted “All rights”, with a little Ramones “gabba gabba hey” thrown in. Of course, these are massive plus points. The music is glam on the cheap; some tinny keyboards and over-layered guitars that recall Eighties Edinburgh pop crushes The Fizzbombs and Sixties beach party records and the sort of thing that was prevalent everywhere in 1980 but never ever rehabilitated: female-led power-pop (we’re talking Martha And The Muffins, the first Tourists single, The Passions…and a thousand lesser-known acts). And yes, that’s wonderful.
The world would indeed be wrong if I didn’t like this. For The Royal We exist on the exact mid-point where latent Olympia Riot Grrrl sexuality meets Glaswegian charity store chic. Single ‘All The Rage’ (the one with the aforementioned “all right’s” fizzes and stains like a gallon of home-made blackcurrant cordial – good for you and slightly tart, and never, ever sickly. ‘Back And Forth Forever’ makes like the Bobby McGees before rocking into Diskettes doo-wop territory. ‘Three Is A Crowd’ rocks, like Ric Ocasek. The lyrics are (shrugs)… who cares what the lyrics are about (although I note they’ve got the innate good sense to name one song ‘I Hate Rock’N’Roll’). What you need to know is that The Royal We are chirpy and sassy, and you hardly need to watch the videos of them on YouTube to know that they bounce like Beth Ditto.
Jihae, Roxanne, Patrick, Graeme, Joan and Colin are like the dream band from Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. It’s like they’ve managed, for just over 20 glorious minutes, to tap into the precocious swagger of continental riot-sters Hello! Cuca! or Orange Juice or The B-Girls (remember ‘Fun On The Beach’?), the sort of attitude that was so rampant in independent pop music before the damn Smiths and serious dickheads like House Of Love took over and ruined everything for generations to come. No wonder folk like Franz Ferdinand love The Royal We. The Royal We contain an innocence within their sound, a pure love for pop music, that they can never hope to recapture.
I know all this makes them sound as twee as fuck…but fuck it. Were The Go-Go’s twee, The Aislers Set, The Pastels…? Hmm?
This is so pop, it’s genius. But be quick! Catch them now. In December, Jihae is moving back to LA and The Royal We will be no more…
My name is Everett True. I am a music critic. This is what I do. I criticise music.
The clue is in my job description – music critic. I do not consider myself a journalist, as I do not research or report hard news. I do not consider myself a commentator as I believe that everyone should be a participant. I criticise people and in return I am not surprised if other people criticise me. It is part of the whole deal of being in the public arena.
I am Everett True. Believe in me and I have power like a God. Quit believing in me and I no longer exist.