June 29, 2010

Carrying the flag of Brit-Pop-Punk

Britpop may technically be dead and gone with the end of the 20th century, but the sound seems to me to be alive and well. There are a lew of contemporary bands that embody Britpop in a way mostly akin to the original 90s sound of Blur, Oasis, Elastica, Supergrass . To varying degrees, the original Britpop bands always displayed a great interest in the original sixties power pop sounds of The Who, The Small Faces and The Kinks, and equally to later British punk and post-punk bands, primarily The Jam. Indeed, jam frontman Paul Weller rode this love of mod sounds and imagery to the pinnacle while reviving his career in the mid-90s, and he's been sitting atop the British music scene, and the UK Charts, pretty solidly ever since. (He's the top British Pop you might say.)

The bands that get tagged as most likley to be Britpop successors these days are sometimes right in line with that original sense of the scene, while others have a adopted a more modern and garage rock approach. And still others aren't British at all, but seem to have the sound down pat (think Mando Diao). Its somewhere in the middle of all that where I think The Paddingtons fall on the spectrum. They have momentary flashes of sixties sensibility, an aggressive punk like approach, and a thoroughly British, power pop sound.

The Paddingtons recently released their most ambitious recording to date, The Lady Boy Tapes. It's a five song EP that is obviously influenced by the most notable Britpop sounding music of the last couple of decades. But at times there are other influences bouncing around in their sound, most obvious of which is Weezer, and to a lesser extent Presidents Of The United States of America.

The EP opens, and later closes, with the band's best work to date. "Consequences" opens things up with the most modern, and still Brit poppiest, track here included. The vocals are tight both in sound and style, and the guitars shift seemlessly between crunchy and psychadelic. Wrapping things up you get the pogo-inducing "Wrong Un", a drum driven story about love gone bad. It's what in between that is least impressive (no pun intended). The track that's getting the most promotion and attention is the title track, "Lady Boy" featuring none other than the too-clever-by-half Adam Greene of Moldy Peaches fame. As you might gather the song has all the sophmoric innuendo and clever sexual rhymes that Greene is known for (but for which The Paddingtons aren't) although he seems unclear whether he's fallen into a tryst with a she-male or a hermaphrodite. No matter, Greene's presence is out of synch with the rest of the album in sound, tone and style. Had the band simply let Greene release "Lady Boy" on his own with them backing him up, it would have been better for all involved. Still, the release is worth it if only for the above average "Consequences" and "Wrong Un".

The Paddingtons -- Wrong Un(2010)