The Bishops - The Bishops
The sharp suits and the fact that the band are a three-piece may give some clues as to the type of sound you are going to find within the covers of this CD. Yep, this is pure and simple sixties retro. The band have gone to the extent of using old analogue equipment salvaged from Abbey Road studios in order to try to recreate the genuine sound of the sixties. And I have to say they have done it pretty well. I wouldn't be surprised if they had turned up at the studios on clapped out Lambrettas or Piaggios with a dozen wing mirrors, or even crammed with their equipment into a classic Mini Cooper complete with union jack painted roof and British racing stripes on the bonnet.
The homage to the sixties is, without a shadow of a doubt, completely and utterly intentional. It was a brave move for it is fraught with peril. Those who like sixties music may well find themselves captivated by the retro sound. Those who are too young to remember will not know what to think. Those who despise the sixties will hate it. Those who revere the sixties and think nothing good was made after 1970 will regard this as blasphemy.
The band make no secret of their references. Think of the great British outfits of the sixties and you will find that their influences have spread to this album - the Yardbirds, the Kinks, Dave Clark Five, the Searchers, maybe even Herman's Hermits and of course the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. The songs are generally short and sharp, with bright melodies and catchy hooklines. Lyrically, with a few exceptions, they stick to the themes of the sixties with minor modifications for updating. The opener, "Menace about Town" draws heavily on the early sixties rhythm and blues and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
And it doesn't let up from there. There are one or two numbers, such as the single "I Can't Stand It any More", which do not quite hit the mark, but the remainder of the album is filled with fun-packed little pockets of glorious sixties pop, carefully re-packaged for the noughties without losing any of the original edge or, dare I say, innocence, of the sixties. The bass on "Life in a Hole" is much more severe than you would find on something more modern while the album's best track, the double song "Lies and Indictments/Sun Going Down" has a level of guitar distortion which could not have been achieved in the early sixties.
And yet, for all of this, The Bishops has taken a pasting in the London music press and from those oh so clever know it all twats at the New Musical Express who have uniformly slagged it off as being too retro. How the hell can one be too retro? As usual, the smug hipsters are completely missing the point. This is homage to the spirit and the image and the sound of the sixties placed before a modern audience. It is not a recreation. There are no covers on the album - all the material is original. But above all, it is fun. You remember fun. Fun is what music was supposed to be about - going out, enjoying yourself listening to a band and finding that particular songs bring back warm memories of events, places and people. Sadly, the hipsters only find music worthwhile if it completely new. Give them a double CD of 140 minutes of Kyrgyz cattle-masturbation set to music and they'll laud it to high heaven. Give them something enjoyable and it is an entirely different matter. Me, I'll take the Bishops over most of the highly-rated-because-it-is-original stuff which passes for indie hipster shit any day.
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on 2011-02-22 CharlesMartel Said:
One of the better bands to emerge from London in recent years. Good live set too!