Happy-go-lucky, knees-up pop music is nothing to be scared of, but it doesn't half make a fine bunch of pop tunes sound insufferable...
Scientists have called it ‘Rinky Dink’ Syndrome. It describes the tendency of much post-Britpop to have at least one song in their repertoire that goes, ‘A rinky dink dink’ and ‘plinky plonk plonk’ and, if we’re getting energetic, perhaps even ‘stinky stonk stonk’. It was first noticed as far back as The Wonder Stuff, whose ‘Size Of A Cow’ was the seminal example. Or you might like to blame The Small Faces and the music hall spirit which Blur circa ‘Sunday Sunday’ were fond of rekindling.
I am not the first to identify this phenomenon, but The Supernaturals are perhaps the first post-Britpop act to suffer from it in almost all their songs. Happy-go-lucky, knees-up pop music is nothing to be scared of per se, but it doesn’t half make a fine bunch of pop tunes sound insufferable.
Their brand of entertainment is just that little bit too eager to please, keen to be liked and unwilling to get so heavy on us that they might delve into such depressing stuff as emotions, or the minutiae of our lives beyond tragi-comic lite stuff – like blokes being a bit crap and the sink springing a leak. Not to worry. Let’s jump around as if we’re in an M&Ms advert and everything will be alright.
Which is a great shame because they’ve already mastered the hard part. See, unlike 90 per cent of indie bands who reckon they play ‘pop music’, they can actually pen a catchy tune, like ‘Smile’ or ‘Lazy Lover’. They recently supported Robbie Williams on his European tour, and are set to do so again. Which is perfectly appropriate, considering that if someone with the charisma and panache of our Robbie sang these songs, we’d all queue up to praise him.
Alas, the cruel truth is, when Robbie sings this kind of stuff, it’s more than we expect from a pop star. When The Supernaturals sing it, it’s less than we demand from a reasonably literate guitar band whose faces no-one can ever remember.
When they encore with a slow, bittersweet version of Wham!’s ‘Freedom’ they probably think it’s an ironic take on a lost pop classic, not to be taken too seriously. But the irony is, if they applied the same slowed down, un-plinky treatment of a few of their own songs, they might find a more lasting place in people’s affections. Until then, The Supernaturals experience will remain bereft of real magic.