It's one in one out in popworld at the moment, with Girls Aloud returning from hiatus and Scissor Sisters announcing last night at their Camden Roundhouse gig that they were heading off on one. Obviously a hiatus is the hip thing to do if you've got enough cash, and scores of bands have snuck off to put their feet up in the last couple of decades – for whatever reason. But do they ever come back stronger? Here are five catalysts for the “indefinite hiatus”.
Maybe we can put Scissor Sisters in this box, what with all the hi-NRG shows and singing at the top of the old register. That’d take it out of anyone. But it has to apply to Foo Fighters, with Dave Grohl revealing this month that he wasn’t “sure when the Foo Fighters were going to play again”. Eighteen years of barely being out of our faces is a decent excuse for a breather. In 2009, Fall Out Boy announced their own hiatus after a half-decade’s rise to become one of the world’s unlikeliest biggest bands, with a punishing touring schedule to fuel it. Divebombing solo projects suggest Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump and the rest won’t mothball the FOB name forever.
Whatever the protestations, the Sonic Youth hiatus has the look of a more permanent sundering now that Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon have split up, but there’s probably hope for Gorillaz whatever the circumstances of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s falling-out. That was something to do with Albarn making the ‘Plastic Beach’ Gorillaz more of a real band than Hewlett’s cartoon creations – maybe the cartoons will go their own way.
Or just do their own thing for a bit. Cheryl Cole’s underwhelming solo career was already underway, but Girls Aloud’s break also allowed Nicola Roberts to please the pop purists with ‘Cinderella’s Eyes’, Nadine Coyle to get racked up on the Tesco Metro counter and Sarah Harding and Kimberley Walsh to model and act and whatever else a pop star does with too much time on their hands. At the other end of the pop spectrum, Ben Folds Five went on a 12-year holiday so Folds could make other sorts of records that only critics love. Incubus, meanwhile, took a few years off to be students – the topsy-turvy rock’n’roll dream.
Did you know The Fratellis are on hiatus? There must be a slight semantic difference between “on hiatus” and “sitting around thinking, ‘I have literally no clue what to do next’”. Doves are on an open-ended break too, possibly after seeing their understated Lancs rock utterly overwhelmed by the Elbow juggernaut. Perhaps its time to dust off the Sub Sub guise and return to housey space-funk. People have had worse ideas.
But we might be happy to see them again in a few years. Or – in the case of Black Eyed Peas – in about six billion years when the sun expands and consumes the planet. You know they’re going to return though; same with LMFAO, who disappeared for no good reason other than the salvation of humanity a few weeks ago.
Does the break really do you good though? Are No Doubt a better band than the ropey outfit of 2001? Did Guns N’ Roses come back revitalised? Can we expect a renewed verve about Stereolab? Don’t hold your breath.