By Magnus Shaw Did it start with Vampire Weekend or Razorlight? No, it was probably before that. Gay Dad, I think it began with Gay Dad. I’m talking about a phenomenon I call ‘flash-in-the-pan (FITP) bands.’
A great band needs some resistance. At least initially, it does a band no end of good if they have to struggle to be heard, noticed and appreciated. It makes them stubborn, determined and even a little bit angry. The mighty Manic Street Preachers were met with pretty widespread derision in their formative period. Fake punks, poseurs, Welsh yokels, rock fakes – the metropolitan intelligentsia had a field day, heaping accusation and mockery on the group. Did it ruin them? Did it hell. It gave them the belief and grit they needed to become the consistently interesting and hugely popular act we know today. When they first appeared, The Clash were dismissed as a hopeless garage band; Pet Shop Boys were labelled irrelevant Europop; even The Beatles struggled to find a label willing to take them on. No, a bit of a shoeing gives a pop outfit the depth and character required to mark them out as special. The friction gives them traction.