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ROGER HOLLAND foams at the mouth over the glorious pop of some kiddies from Oxfordshire. But will their family connections put them in the doghouse? STEVE DOUBLE snaps at their ankles.
“We live on the edge — the edge of Oxfordshire.”
So say Talulah Gosh, the best pop band in the world this week. A band that’s not sure if it wants to be interviewed.
“Whatever we say in an interview, we always come across quite ridiculously.”
Liz, who sometimes calls herself ‘Pebbles’ and so has only herself to blame, is worried that we are going to underestimate and undervalue Talulah Gosh.
“People shouldn’t read our interviews — they should listen to our record, or come and see us live and make of us what they will. Interviews are useless and artificial. We can sit here and talk forever but when we read what you write, it won’t seem to have anything to do with us at all.”
Liz is afraid that people won’t appreciate that you don’t have to be silly or superficial to enjoy silliness for its own sake, or to make brilliantly superficial pop music which other like-minded people can delight in on the same terms.
Talulah Gosh are neither stupid nor superficial. Nor are they brainlessly twee pop nincompoops.
There’s a very thin line between childlike pop genius and the BMX Bandits, and Talulah Gosh walk on the right side of that line. Though their conversation is punctuated with bickering and giggling, this is no more than symptomatic of the great breathless rush of enthusiasm they bring to their splendidly innocent pop music.
Live, Talulah Gosh throw all sense of ‘musicianship’ to the winds and knock up a quite glorious sound, though unhappily their debut single, ‘Steaming Train’, is a 12-inch which doesn’t quite cut it.
Amelia: “It isn’t noisy enough. There aren’t enough guitars. And it’s my fault because I played so badly that they had to turn me down in the mix. But apart from that it sounds like we usually do…”
Peter: “No it doesn’t! It’s all in time all the way through and that’s nothing like we usually sound.”
Incredible though it may seem, both Matthew and Amelia, his elder sister who looks far younger (“If Matthew and I go into an off licence they usually refuse to serve me but serve him, and I’m 20 and he’s only 15”), are the offspring of a well-known advertising mongrel, a man guilty of hideous crimes against humanity.
“Well, yes he did do those Pedigree Chum adverts but it wasn’t his fault. He joined Bates, the company that makes those ads, after they’d already been using that style for years, and they weren’t going to let him change them because they sell zillions of tins of that stuff a week.”
The two Talulahs’ father also worked on those awful A-Mars-A-Day-Makes-You-Bald-Fat-And-Spotty ads, but he has had his good moments.
“He did those TUC ads about South Africa, the ones that the South African government are threatening to sue over.”
Anyway, ignore Matthew (everybody else does) because ‘Steaming Train’ is still a fine first single from a fine young group. A welcome breath of fresh air.
“The main thing about us is our spontaneity. We’re not the sort of band that sits around and practises and meditates and vegetates — until we become muso enough to be able to play our songs note perfect. I think we’re far better than that.”
Amelia knows what’s what, and no mistake.
“But spontaneity sounds like an excuse for poor musicianship, and we don’t need an excuse for our poor musicianship.”
Peter, an ex-philosophy student, expounds upon the philosophy which binds his group together.
“I think Dolby Noise Reduction represents everything we stand against in the music business. And digital remastering! And compact discs! And those stupid little things on the end of the guitars you’re supposed to twiddle about with, we never touch them!”
Liz: “If you wanted to tune my guitar you’d need a spanner!”
Peter: “And another thing we hate are all those awful indie bands that say things like, We really wish we could get an indie deal just like New Order have got, because they have complete artistic control over their records.”
Amelia: “I want to have a major record deal where we have no artistic freedom and they make us put out decent records.”
Peter: “I know that we’re a joke band because we’re a band with girls in and all bands with girls in are joke bands, but New Order are the joke band with no punchline.”
Amelia: “They’re just a really, really long shaggy dog story that goes on forever. They’re pathetic. At least with us you know no song’s ever going to last more than two minutes.”
Gosh! Punk lives!