The Music

Strength In Numbers

In 2002 the late, great Tony Wilson, having admitted he tried and failed to sign them, described The Music as “the most exciting band on the planet”. He wasn’t alone in this opinion: on witnessing Robert Harvey’s lot live for the first time, this writer excitedly rang everyone he knew and started spluttering stuff like “the future” and “it’s the Roses all over again”. Something like The Verve playing Klaxons songs, in the flesh, they conjured the energy of a rave like no guitar band before or since.

Then, though, came the records: “vibes” just about buoyed their self-titled first album, but by the times of 2004’s follow-up ‘Welcome To The North’, the absence of any truly great songs and the euphoria became increasingly apparent. A typically masterful put-down from Loan Gallagher later (“Rubbish…and the singer sounds like a witch”) and The Music looked done for. At that stage even in their more natural live setting, they seemed disheartened. And so the four years since have been dominated by stories of Rob Harvey’s descent into drugs, alcohol and severe depression.

The positive to come out of this, however, is that on their third album, rather than hollering “YEEEAAHHH” or “WOOOOAAHHH” or “BAAAAYYBEEEEEE” quite a lot over the top of his bandmates’ still-exciting noise, Harvey now has something to sing about. Sure, he’s maybe yet to introduce a metaphor to his repertoire (there’s one song called ‘Drugs’, another ‘The Spike’), but the emotional nakedness of tunes such as ‘Get Through It’, ‘No Weapon Sharper Than Will’ and the title track and single is perfectly suited to the as-you-were backdrop of Zep-gone-done-down-the-disco guitars and frenetic beats, both electronic and organic. It’s uneasy listening, certainly, but also difficult to turn your back on.

Of course, the cyclical nature of fashion and, to a certain extent, new rave, ain’t going to make it easy for The Music (all still a good 10 years younger than Glasvegas) to spread their appeal beyond the already-signed-up this time around. But the fire is still there, along with a new-found eloquence. For its creators, you’d imagine the fact that this record has even seen the light of day is cause for celebration enough. The truth is that they deserve to reap much greater reward.

Hamish McBain