A funny thing happened the other day. [a]Noel Gallagher[/a] was at a bash and he rolled up a ’20 note and posed for a photographer pretending to snort a line of coke. Nothing odd there you might think. Noel‘s band need all the notoriety they can get right now, what with Liam giving up the sauce and Meg getting more famous than her hubby.
No, the strange thing is that when the photos were developed a decision was taken not to use them in case it caused Noel any embarrassment.
That, in a nutshell, is why we need the Fries.
OK, so it’s common knowledge among those who give a monkey’s that the Fries are a joke. And a scuzzy joke at that. The only question open to debate is just exactly what manner of jape they are putting over on us.
Theory One goes like this: Regular Fries are just a bunch of seedy old blokes who should know better than trying to prolong their adolescence by living out their long-preserved teen fantasies of being in a band.
Theory Two goes: Regular Fries are a bunch of sad stoners who, after one particularly productive night on the bong, came up with the scam that they could justify their squalid existence, indeed make an artistic virtue of it, if only they could just get it together to bung out a record.
Theory Three goes: Regular Fries missed the Happy Mondays so much that they reinvented them. And then Shaun brought the real Mondays back. The bastard!
Theory Four goes: Regular Fries know that rock muisc is shot and the only thing left to do is laugh.
Theory Five – and you need to take a bit of a leap of faith for this one – goes like this: Regular Fries are keepers of the flame and, while all around them bland out and look to their pension plans, this rather unseemly bunch are pretty much the last true believers that, when rock’n’roll communicates best, it alchemises self-indulgence into something fabulously anti-social.
‘Accept The Signal’ confirms theories one to five, and then some! It may be the right mess that everyone around here predicted it would be but it’s a glorious mess that, when it’s not too busy trying on space suits or guzzling nitrous oxide, gets kinda emotional and slinky on our ass. There’s a touching attitude to Rich‘s carnt-be-arsed vocals that reaches beyond sloth to vulnerability. And the kitchen-sink mentality of their gigs – when the over-abundance of ideas often seems desperate compensation for any true sense of focus or direction – has been boldly calmed down here to a lovely smashed groove.‘Dust It’ (Click here for clip) is a dirty thing, skulking in the corner, leering at our finer instincts; ‘King Kong’(Click here for clip) is irritating and daft and hopefully the end of the line for those silly white boys (hello Jason, hello Bobby) who think hiring a gospel choir gives ’em soul; ‘The Girls’ is really rather sensitive and sexy in a can’t-live-with-’em, can’t-live-without-’em kinda way and ‘Wires’ is as dreamy as it’s meant to be.
And that’s the triumph of ‘Accept The Signal’ – it sounds exactly like it was meant to when it was dreamed up as a gas all those months ago. In other words, whether you call it skunk rock or nu psychedelia or a tramp’s new clothes, it’s almost as much fun to listen to the Fries now as it must be to be (on) one. 7/10