It’s not been a good week for Elton John. First there was his telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin that turned out to be a prank, thus ruining the chance of a remake of ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ featuring the vocal stylings of the Russian President in the Kiki Dee role. Then there was the sad demise of Funeral For A Friend, named after one of his songs, who have announced they are to split following one last tour. As the Welsh emo stalwarts are read their last rites, what other bands from that purple patch of ’00s British post-hardcore are worth revisiting?
Heralded as part of a UK resistance against the bro culture of nu metal, and taking their cue from At The-Drive In, Aldershot riff-slingers Hundred Reasons released their classy debut ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ in 2002, full of frontman Colin Doran – a man with more hair than Biffy Clyro’s shower plughole – emotionally bellowing over crunchy guitars on anthems like ‘If I Could’ and ‘I’ll Find You’. Of their best song, ‘Silver’, NME hailed at the time that it “would have Hüsker Dü nodding sagely from the peak of hardcore’s Mount Olympus”.
While Frank Turner may be used to playing his folk-tinged rock to arenas nowadays, he cut his teeth in a far rawer prospect – Million Dead, whose biggest gig was comparatively to about 600 people. Inspired by the socially-aware punk of Black Flag and Minor Threat, a Jesus-haired Turner frantically screeches his way through the politically-charged punk on ace debut ‘A Song To Ruin’. Although they imploded in acrimony in 2005 after two albums, their reputation has grown in their absence.
During 2005, when Yourcodenameis:milo released their debut album, it was at the height of the ‘karaoke indie’ boom – where everybody was sporting Russell Lissack’s ‘Bloc Head’ cut, la-la-la-ing lairily to ‘I Predict A Riot’ and wearing so much Brandon Flowers guyliner that they resembled The Hamburgler. So, these Geordies’ intricate Fugazi-like rock, fidgety sound and tricky time signatures felt an odder fit than Donald Trump at a Day of The Dead celebration. But listening back, they prove to be one of the more inventive bands of the period – witness their ‘Print Is Dead’ compilation, featuring time-capsule collaborations with Gordon Moakes, The Automatic, The Futureheads, and Maxïmo Park.
Hell Is For Heroes
With a name taken from a ’60s war movie starring Steve McQueen, Hell Is For Heroes formed out the smouldering ashes of Britpop also-rans Symposium, with chief vocalist Justin Schlosberg expectorating up the likes of ‘I Can Climb Mountains’ like a furball from his soul. After three albums, they bowed out in 2007 – but ‘The Neon Handshake’ is still worth returning to again and again.
Welsh noise-merchants ‘Jarcrew’ were on the fuzzier, experimental end of the post-hardcore spectrum, and released one self-titled album in 2003 before disbanding two years later. Frontman Kelson Mathias would go on to serve time in Future Of The Left, and last year the disco-punk riot starters unexpectedly reformed to support a version of Mclusky. However, despite their cult status, Mathias denied it was the springboard to a full-blown Jarcrew comeback. “Logistically, it’s a nightmare to get everyone together,” he told NME. “We’re scattered throughout Wales and of the guitar players, Tom, works offshore in Norfolk as a geologist.”