You can’t manufacture chemistry: sometimes, against all odds, two souls will make magic together. So which musical pairings share a strange kind of voodoo? First up, Royal Blood: frontman Mike Kerr looks hipster-ish, hi-hat hero Ben Thatcher looks like he could well serve you a Royale with Cheese, but the sheer noise they make is astonishing.
Black Keys Has one of the guys from Flight Of The Conchords grown a massive Jesus beard? Hell no, that’s the Black Keys! One looks like he might work in a Bibliotheque while the other looks like he might bash you up with his Bible. Together they rock!
The Kills VV and Hotel were drawn together from either side of the pond and have been making a wild transatlantic cacophony together since the year 2000. To give them their grown up names, Alison Mosshart now also plays with The Dead Weather while Jamie Hince is married to somebody quite famous…
White Stripes He was a musical prodigy with a cheap guitar, she was a skin thumper and his next of kin. Wife? Sister? We got to the bottom of their little mystery in the end, but the conundrum could never begin to compete with just how incredible Jack and Meg White sounded together.
Suicide There might be a 12 year gap between Alan Vega and Martin Rev, but that didn’t stop the Brooklyn duo sharing the same vision and making some of the weirdest, most hardcore records of the last 40 years. Vega is 75 now, but so much of what he’s made with Rev so far still sounds like the future.
Daft Punk Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk are said to be very different people, not that we’d have a clue with them hiding under those helmets. Whatever the truth, the Frenchmen are arguably the most influential electronic duo of the last last 20 years.
One is a no nonsense hip hop kinda guy, the other a flamboyant dandy with an ear for a tune and an eye for a photo opportunity. Together Big Boi and Andre 3000 are Outkast, and it’s a pleasure to have them back as an ensemble once more.
Eric B & Rakim Long Island’s Eric Barrier swapped playing the trumpet for the turntables, while William Michael Griffin Jr changed his name to Rakim as a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths. Introduced by a mutual friend, they’d become one of the most influential hip hop duos of all tim.
Japandroids Brian King and David Prowse met at University in British Columbia in 2000, but they didn’t form Japandroids until 2006. A further six years later in 2012, Spin named them band of the year, proving they were definitely the ‘Droids you were looking for after all.
Sleigh Bells …And the Ting Tings Inaugural Guy Made to Wear Shades by the Stylist in a Desperate Bid to Make Him Look Hip Next to the Effortlessly Cool Girl Vocalist Award goes to… Sleigh Bells (It should probably be noted that singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller are way better than the Ting Tings)
MGMT Maybe Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser were drawn together in solidarity down at an Unusual Surname Club. Whatever the reason, their infectious indietronica soon crossed over from the toilet circuit to nightclubs the world over when their tune ‘Kids’ became universally ubiquitous in 2007
Crystal Castles Toronto duo Alice Glass and Ethan Kath take the Pet Shop Boys’ blueprint of complementary, contrasting personas and drag it to it’s illogical conclusion. Vocal member becomes contrary primadonna (Glass) while the quiet one becomes passive aggressive dude in a hoody (Kath). Great chemistry though!
Deap Vally Meeting in a needlework class isn’t the most rock ‘n’ roll way for a band to get together, but the San Fernando Valley girls have been making up for it ever since. Deap Vally rule ok! Or should that be rule crochet?
Drenge You’re bound to have a curious chemistry if a Labour MP mentions you in his resignation speech, urging Ed Miliband to get out more, and adding: “I recommend Drenge”. Eoin and Rory are brothers who show a united front (unlike Ed and David), and they’ll no doubt be delighted if they never hear the name Tom Watson again.
Fuck Buttons The Bristolian duo’s influences come from either end of the cool spectrum, with Andrew Hung aroused by madcap, glitchy electronica like Aphex Twin and Benjamin John Power moved by Scottish quiet/loud masters Mogwai. It’s a chemistry that saw a band with a really sweary name get played first at London 2012’s Olympic opening ceremony. Still hard to believe two years on..
Tegan And Sara The Canadian twin sisters have proved themselves as heroes many times over in many different ways: dancing with Taylor Swift, taking on Tyler, The Creator and recording ‘Everything Is Awesome’ for
TNGHT Lunice Fermin Pierre II (real name) and Hudson Mohawke (errrrm) are both in demand record producers in their own right, but when the Montrealian and the Scotsman come together they are more than just consonant professionals.
Simon & Garfunkel Paul Simon had his books and his poetry to protect him, or as a last resort he could try and encourage his taller singer mate with wild wraparound animal hair to stick his dukes up. Simon provided the songwriting muscle, Garfunkel that otherworldly voice, but personally they were not without their problems.
The Everly Brothers It’s a curse that’s afflicted bands of brothers in pop from the Kinks (Ray and Dave) to Oasis (Noel and Liam), but before them all were the Everly’s Don and Phil, and truth be told, dudes hated each other. But together – probably to their chagrin – they were magical.
Disclosure Two brothers (Guy and Howard Lawrence) who, thanks to their strange sibling chemistry, could open their own Bangers Factory.
Sonny and Cher “They say our love don’t pay the rent…” Not strictly true – the hit single ‘I Got You Babe’ made hippy Chuckle Brothers lookalike Sonny Bono and glamorous wife Cher splendidly rich. When they divorced in 1975 they’d sold 40 million records.
John Parish and PJ Harvey PJ Harvey seemed to pluck fellow west country musician John Parish from thin air, but a closer look at his career reveals an impressive musical CV. Nothing yet quite matches his work with Polly Jean, and here’s hoping for more of the same from the pairing.
DFA 1979 Death From Above sparkled for the shortest of times between 2004 and 2006 before breaking up, though their incredible chemistry was so undeniable that they just had to reunite in 2011, proving that two elephant heads are better than one.
Mazzy Star The musical relationship between David Roback and Kendra Smith was a fruitful one when the pair bore three divine albums between 1990 and 1996, and an extensive European tour in 2012 (and the ‘Seasons Of Your Day’ LP) proved the reformed pair have still got it.
David Byrne and St Vincent It was a shock when David Byrne and Annie Clark announced they’d be working together, but on reflection it made perfect sense (and so it did in practice). Both were art school dropouts from New York, and now both have the same hair. Clearly they were musically and aesthetically made for each other.