Hundred Reasons : Ideas Above Our Station

Surrey emo crew's incendiary punk rock debut...

Taking back what’s been stolen. Taking back what is ours. If you were going to be a real petty minded prick you’d say Hundred Reasons sounded a bit like Reef, but for the greater good we’ll rise above that. ‘Cause here we are. It’s 2002 and we’re choking on so much mediocre imported shit passing itself off as punk rock that we’ve practically forgotten that – whatever New York bores like Patti Smith and Television might have us believe – punk rock is ours and it owes us a living. Made in the UK – exported worldwide.

So all hail Hundred Reasons – they may have learned some of their tricks from a well-thumbed copy of Ian ‘Fugazi’ McKaye’s ‘Emotional Hardcore For Pleasure And Profit’, but that is not to deaden the pure, exuberant impact of these Surrey misfits. If emo at its purest was an expression of total honesty through the medium of slightly fast guitar music, then Hundred Reasons are not letting the side down – no rock posing, no fake American accents, 100 percent, full-on, themselves.

While the mere concept of punk rock on a major label such as Columbia is a little too incongruous for many purists to accept, Hundred Reasons have not allowed the great expectations of the British music industry to blur their simple vision. Here are some good songs played with a workmanlike verve and no small amount of style.

The title may be ‘Ideas Above Their Station’ but for their first long player, hairy Colin Doran and pals are playing it reassuringly straight. If nothing else, it’s got three cracking singles on it in ‘I’ll Find You’, ‘If I Could’ and the remarkably fine, multi-tiered ‘Silver’ which would have Hüsker Dü nodding sagely from the peak of hardcore’s Mount Olympus.

The fact that they’re embedded in the midst of an intriguing little jumble of half-brilliant fillers only make it better. ‘Falter’ dances around the verges of Slint-y post-rock but with an added fun-factor and even the obligatory slow one at the end, ‘Avalanche’, is a pretty little thing rather than an opportunity to do a shit Incubus impression.

People with longish memories might see the parallels with the first Idlewild LP – now there was a band who timed their entire career badly – but like ‘Hope Is Important’, ‘Ideas Above Their Station’ is a classy opening gambit. Here’s what we can do now – guess what we’re gonna do next?

But that’s only half of the reason to get slightly excited about Hundred Reasons, because like The Strokes, they’re a band who can’t help but inspire others to get involved. Here’s what they can do with five-and-a-half chords and a will of iron – now it’s your turn.

Jim Wirth