WYBC Yale Radio
The British are… staying at home?

I don’t know what caused the British Invasion, the wave of lads from across the pond that included the Beatles, the Stones and so many more; maybe they were still smarting from the Revolution. But in any case, the bands that stormed our shores fifty odd years ago did it with bombast, swagger and a whole lot of drugs. For some reason, British rock bands were extremely badass. Now, we have a new crop of Brit rock, but the flavor is decidedly different. When the Who and the Stones fell from fashion with England’s younger crowd, these were the kids who retreated to their basements with a few chums and refused to let rock and roll die. Thing is, they seem to have spent quite a while jamming in the basement, for two main reasons: their bands are tight as hell, and they are a bunch of pale, awkward-looking motherfuckers. There’s a whole list of these bands, seriously talented rockers who look onstage like they would rather be inside with a cup of tea and a good book (or maybe all British people would actually prefer this). They look like a different species from Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend and all those other guitar-smashing, windmilling performers of the past.  The members of Franz Ferdinand, responsible for “Ulysses,” “Take Me Out,” and a whole songbook of other pub-ready, danceable tunes, would look more at home in the stacks than on the floor at Toad’s. Same goes for Radiohead, arguably the standard bearers of the gangly-rock movement.  The appearance, though, belies the music. The songs these bands put out are energetic and raucous, more lively than most American rock put out today. Bombay Bicycle Club, a band on the rise whose lead singer could have been cast as an extra in “Twilight,” can move effortlessly between infectious bits of backbeat and walls of Sonic Youth-esque guitar noise. The Arctic Monkeys, who’s song “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” certainly would not apply to the band itself, claw at their guitars with the frenetic angst of the Ramones or the Strokes. While these American counterparts seem to have a post-Grease monopoly on the leather jacket, the Monkeys and their fellow bands wear scarves and button downs and really do look like they got  home from taking their A-levels and headed straight back down to the basement. As much as you might not want to hit the beach with them, these guys are the real deal. Blimey.