Dear readers, it isn’t often that we present you with an intense moral quandary first thing on a Wednesday morning, but here goes. We’ll start by telling you some stuff about The Virgins we think you should know. The first problem is that people seem to be labouring under the misapprehension they’re the first bunch of losers in history to start a band with the intention of sleeping with as many thick posh girls as possible, and that not only is this admirable in an awesome Robin Hood sort of way, but by alluding to this at every possible opportunity they’re somehow smashing through the fourth wall. They’re not breaking the mould by being style-over-substance chancers, that’s basically why music started: you write me ‘Greensleeves’, I let you have rough sex with me in the hayloft. As it was, so shall it ever be.
The second problem with The Virgins is that every accolade in their cap is a victory for lazy revivalism. This record contains not a single note of innovation, from the naff ’80s synths to the note-for-note Strokes riffs. The problem with retro is that, as anyone who’s ever been to the Portobello Road on a Saturday will attest, it stinks.
The third problem with The Virgins is that they don’t give a fuck, and bands who don’t give a fuck aren’t cool. These feckless wasters are destined for the ninth circle of hell, where they’ll be frozen in the icy lake of Cocytus while The Mighty Boosh band play in the background, their heads in the mouth of Lucifer (who is, in this particular fantasy, Henry Rollins), their backs forever being skinned by his claws.
The fourth problem with The Virgins is that, despite all this, this album is jam-packed with pop hits; the most vomit-inducing shamelessly hipster band we’ve ever clapped eyes on might well have made one of the hits of the summer. Like we said, we’re in a moral quandary. They’re clearly grasping blindly into the darkness, but we’ve seen enough of The Crystal Maze to know that sometimes you’re bound to hit the mark. ‘She’s Expensive’ is shit, ‘Love Is Colder Than Death’ is rad; ‘Murder’ is some Hard-Fi-meets-Datarock abomination; ‘Private Affair’ is two Vampire Weekend tracks playing at once with a riff that makes us weak at the knees, and is one of the catchiest things we’ve heard in ages.
The uneasy feeling that they’re having a laugh at our expense is hard to shake, and it’s not even up for debate that they’re being thrust upon us by a shrewd marketing genius who has calculated that MGMT + Vampire Weekend = New York £££s, but every time we’re about
to slit our wrists ‘Teen Lovers’ comes on and we cut a slice of cake instead. It’s safe to say this album messes with our heads. You could do worse than let it mess with yours.