Eddie Argos of Art Brut is a great fan of the Indelicates. And it’s easy to see why. They write intelligent songs with lyrics full of humour and a stark societal realism thrown in for good measure that Hunter S Thompson would be proud of. In fact, Art Brut’s endorsement may be symbolic on more than one level – the Indelicates have cult-fandom written all over them, it’s only a question of time, just like with Art Brut, all those years ago before they became big in Germany.
America Demo is the long awaited debut album from the Indelicates who only formed in September 2005, after Julia from the Pipettes left her polka-dotted group to start a band with Simon Clayton, a performance poet, which one could describe as Pulp brought up-to-date for the 21st century. The comparison with Pulp is valid, I think – society, the music industry and the media are all the focus of the band’s attentions here. Musically, they are in the same ball-park, poppy-rock which alludes to the glorious early 90s indie-pop revival, yet it still feels very modern, fresh and invigorated. It remains very twee and upbeat musically throughout, even if the topic matter happens to be a love song about something as bizarre and dark as Hitler’s British aristocrat admirer, Unity Mitford (who was so in love with Hitler that she shot herself upon the outbreak of WW2).
Lyrically, they tackle all the big subjects, yet do so in a very refreshing and honest fashion – rhymes are clever, witty and measured while the topics covered are wide and varied. A girl’s place in modern society, America (more generally), rock and roll, Jeff Buckley and musical critics all inform the Indelicates’ songs on American Demo. Highlights include the gloriously upbeat, ‘Julia, We Don’t Live in the 60s’, which has previously been released by the band and is now re-recorded for the album, the stomping single ‘America’ with crunching guitar riffs over a repetitive piano which has the brilliant line, “I find myself agreeing with Bill O’Reilly, More than the Left”, while the chorus repeats the mantra, that, “If they pin me to the wall, I’ll say I’m with America, with Godless America, I’ll stand and I’ll fall”. Passionate and driven, this song is the first single from the album and should go a long-way to cementing their place as a cult-favourite.
Other songs of note include the amazing, ‘If Jeff Buckley had Lived’ which tackles the mythmaking and “legend” mindset which clouds judgment of all the rock and rollers who died too young, and ‘The Last Significant Statement to be Made in Rock and Roll’ which does exactly what it says on the tin. Meanwhile, ‘New Art for the People’ even dares to question the whole concept of the Indelicates in a world which is no longer understanding or receptive of popular artistic statements. It’s all celebrity motivated nowadays – see, for example, the NME. It is hard not to agree with these sentiments. Overall, there are very few duff songs, incredible considering this is a debut album, the band have obviously given themselves the time to create a full range of strong songs and it shows in the finished article.
The Indelicates have produced a great, original album which should make it into everyone’s end of year lists. Sure, it will never get played on Virgin Radio or BBC Radio Two, but it should still provide the Indelicates with the platform necessary to become music lovers’ new favourite cult-band. Expect supporting slots touring with other cult favourites such as Art Brut or the Broken Family Band soon, and continuing interest from all the usual suspects on the radio, John Kennedy on Xfm, Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio One.