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Fraser McAlpine | 10:32 UK time, Tuesday, 10 April 2007


It happened like this...

Being a friendly kind of blog, from time to time we get emails in from record companies who wish to let us know that they have a band or singer who is thinking of releasing a new song, and would we like to hear about it? And of course this is always exactly the kind of thing a blog devoted to musical excitement is going to be pleased to receive.

Having said that, a lot of these exciting and brand new songs tend to not sound terribly different to songs which you already know very well. This is because there are far more songs than there are original ideas. And far more singers than there are distinctive voices. That's the way it is with music.

But every once in a while, a song arrives which is truly baffling. Sometimes it'll be baffling because the people who made it seem to be wilfully sticking together two sounds which don't seem to have anything in common. Sometimes it'll be baffling because you can't understand why anyone would want to make a noise quite like the one you're hearing, and sometimes it will be JUST PLAIN BAFFLING.

So, an email arrived from Domino Records (home of them Artic Ferdinands) about their new signing, the Wild Beasts. They seem to really like them, so I stuck on my trusty headphones and had a listen. Here, you do it with me...

After one play, a state of total confusion descended. And I started jotting down questions to send over to the person who'd emailed me in the first place. Here's just a selection (I've left out all the ones which were variations on "WHY HAVE YOU SENT ME THIS??").

1: Why do the band seem to fluff every note they are aiming at? Are they wearing boxing gloves?
2: Is the singer taking the mickey?
3: Seriously, why is he singing like that?
4: Is this a joke?
5: In what language is this song being sung?
6: What is a "juddelor"? Or a "lelonde"?
7: What would Simon Cowell say if this were played in an audition situation?
8: Are the band attempting to play 'Unchained Melody'?
9: Nice jumper, Mr Bass Player!
10: Why is No.9 not actually a question?

...and so on. But, to give them the benefit of the doubt, I played the song again, while I was typing. Bizarrely, on second listen, the guitars seemed to be played a little better and the singing - while still a fair way off what you'd expect to hear out of a non-muppet mouth - started to make a strange kind of sense. So I played it again...and again...and again...

Four hours later, it sounded like the best music I have ever heard ever and my email back had lost all of the questions bar one:

1: What magical powers of mind control do these Wild Beasts possess?

All of which proves that you can't really judge a song on first listen, and also that sometimes the music you end up liking the best sounds utterly revolting the first time you hear it.

Speaking of which...here's another one. It's called 'Atlas', it's by a group called Battles, and no, they're not munchkins and they're not trying to play the Dr Who theme...it just SOUNDS like that.

Isn't singular eccentricity EXCITING?

(PS: 'Through Dark Night' by Wild Beasts is out on April 23rd. 'Atlas' by Battles is out now.)


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