Proper pop from Glasgow’s next-in-liners. Bodega Social Club, Nottingham (April 1)
These days, it’s easy to think that pop music’s a happy-go-lucky kind of genre. It sort of comes from nowhere, doesn’t it? Pop idols don’t have feelings, do they? Imagine Kylie Minogue sitting in her bedroom crying – you can’t, can you? That’s not a real person singing that sweet song on your radio, it’s just an illusion, a mere spectre.
Once upon a time, though, pop music really meant something to its creators and to its consumers. It’s to this halcyon vision that Glaswegian sextet Make Model subscribe and they’re in good geographical company: Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, Orange Juice, The Pastels… the list goes on. Tonight, in their footsteps, Make Model are proof positive that pop music in 2008 can encompass both grandiose visions and heart-warming humility. Take ‘Just Another Folk Song’ (anything but) or ‘Czech Neck’ – a Broken Social Scene-esque ode to trying, somehow, to find goodness in a world where grannies are mugged in broad daylight and emo kids get knifed to death for their musical beliefs. “You’ve got to make me happy/You’ve got to bring me sunshine” sings Lewis Gale on the latter while his band do both effortlessly. In truth, their expansive sound isn’t really done justice in venues the size of the Bodega Social Club. With three guitarists, an equal number of vocalists and a rumbunctious rhythm section (Ray Black on drums is Animal from The Muppet Show), they’re a band purpose-built for the bigger stages on which, on this evidence, they’ll find themselves sooner rather than later.
For, particularly in the form of ‘The LSB’, they’ve genuine nuggets of solid indie-pop gold in their locker. “I don’t want them hanging around/I don’t need them dragging me down” sing Gale, Aimi Gold and guitarist Gordon Skene in unison against backing that could belong to Fleetwood Mac as easily as it could Arcade Fire – the band to whom they’ve often, inaccurately, been compared. That’s the thing about genuinely classic pop: it doesn’t necessarily have to sound modern,
it just has to be great. On tonight’s evidence, that’s a path Make Model are pretty darn close to treading.