From: England, Greece, France, but based in London
Sounds like: The kind of band who have the hopes of the music industry resting on their shoulders… and they wear it pretty well
For fans of: David Bowie, Skrillex, Clarence Clarity
HMLTD welcome bewilderment. The name? Confusing (it’s an acronym for Happy Meal Ltd, which preceded it). The music, which flits from bovver boy oik punk to womp-heavy, Death Grips sampling nightmares (often in the space of the same song)? Borderline insane. The look? Like they’re en route from Warhol’s Factory to a Blackadder casting – and yes, the six-piece genuinely do dress like that offstage too.
A gang of extroverted, oddball 20-somethings who live on a council estate in outer London, HMLTD are as much about the hype as they are music. All of which goes some way to explaining why, since bursting onto the scene in mid-2016 after a clutch of frenetic live shows, they haven’t given a single face-to-face interview or revealed anything about what their aims are. The best NME gets, via email, is this (admittedly fantastic) quote in which they liken themselves to an Ancient Greek dragon:
“The music scene is like the giant serpent Ouroboros, perpetually eating its own tail. In this cycle the head represents flamboyancy, and the tail false modesty. We are the head, and naturally the status quo is stirred by the eating of the tail.”
If that doesn’t whet your appetite, then HMLTD’s songs will. The two available at present – ‘Is This What You Wanted?’ and ‘Stained’ – are sleazy, manic, confident, clever and oozing in demented swagger. Live, too, the band are a total thrill, currently on a par only with US garage rockers The Lemon Twigs in the ‘can’t take your eyes off them’ stakes, but with a ‘fuck you’ mentality at their core. Theirs is a world of old school pop grandiosity: garish, brimming with arrogance and able to flit from one source of inspiration to another with exasperating ease. You just can’t second-guess their next move.
Bigger bands are already reportedly refusing to give them support slots, scared they’ll be upstaged, while renowned record producers on both sides of the Atlantic are clamouring for studio-time. Why? Because British music has been devoid of a band this compelling (not to mention this weird) for a long, long time. Sleep on HMLTD at your peril. Matt Wilkinson
Our goal for 2017 is: “We want to be in the Top 10. Staying underground is preaching to the choir: we want to convert people.”
The one thing you need to know about us is: “Our number is 07375809270. Don’t be afraid.”
Essential track: ‘Stained’