brandon -daisy chains by adam barnes

Teenagers from Lymington in Hampshire with big ambitions to be a kind of Disco Manics with lyrics inspired by Sylvia Plath and Oscar Wilde. Ged Babey meets Daisy Chain, ‘the least boring new band in the UK’.

“We couldn’t give a shit about ‘bringing rock ‘n’ roll back, nobody wants to listen, so why throw a constantly recycled and boring genre back in people’s faces for another decade? We’d take One Direction over Palma Violets any day!”

Daisy Chains are a music writers dream. Bursting with teenage confidence and with a frontman and songwriter who’s literate, opinionated and gives good quote.

“We dress to offend more than anything else. We don’t see ourselves as being in line with the accepted definition of a male. We don’t believe in sexism, homophobia and racism… and our teenage peers, who shield themselves in Hollister and Stella Artois on a Saturday night shouting at girls as they drive by on the way to the club, don’t seem to be contributing to what we believe in.”

The boys dress in matching Utility Drag of red skinny jeans and leopardskin coats, with a touch of eyeliner. The Boredom Alienation and Despair of the early Manic Street Preachers does seem to be an over-riding influence on Daisy Chains.

“Our image is just as much Earth Wind and Fire or Chic as it is early Manics in all honesty”

Lies Brandon Toor the bands singer, lyricist and driving force. A camp, intelligent, androgynous man-child some six foot tall with a hairstyle which resembles Justine Frischmanns.

“I play guitar and sing, Charley plays guitar and does a bit of singing and Toby plays the drums, yeah I guess we are aiming for a 70’s sound really, full on studio 54 disco, Chic / Chaka Khan and then the early Talking Heads, Television, but we really take most influence from Kendrick Lamar stuff, Sam Smith’s fab and a lot of Plath, Oscar Wilde, Anne Sexton and Karl Huysmans, then the beat writers which we adore too.

“We only really see ourselves being influenced musically, aesthetically and idealistically by Kendrick Lamar, who we believe is more important, and has said more in 4 years than the Beatles and Elvis ever did.”

For a band that only formed in November 2014 and are 17 and 18, Brandon certainly has mastered the Manics art of making extravagant statements seem like casual quips. His vision of the band’s sound is, to be honest, not quite a reality yet. Live they veer from indie-punk Libertines of You Adore Me (Yes, I know… a bit too You Love Us) to a funky-scratchy Fire Engines go Disco sound.  But Brandon’s showmanship, jumping off the drumkit, throwing his scarf and handfuls of glitter at the audience, are entertaining and the music danceable and immediate.

I would maybe have dismissed them as Manic Disco chancers had it not been for the quality of his lyrics, distinctive voice and the one song they’ve so far made public online.

In typically pedantic style Brandey dismisses the song thus;

“Someone Like Me is way to old and doesn’t represent us anymore anyway…”

It could be a prime C86 jangle-pop classic with its chiming guitar and beautiful teenage-angst lyricism.” I’ll save you from tomorrow, cos you saved me from today” married to mentions of  ‘Alienated youth’ and ‘a sign that says Welcome to Hell’ are just perfect

Hailing from a quiet New Forest town, with its mixture of agriculture and affluence, boredom and small-town small-mindedness these are no mere meaningless rhyme-schemes.

The band sent me three unreleased demos which show their musical evolution.

Honey has a great chorus of ‘Youth used to taste like, used to taste like honey’,  which on first hearing sounds like You rather than Youth, so seems to be a straight forward funky sex song, but has more depth and asserts ‘I’m who I want {to be} now and I won’t apologise’

Champagne gets seriously D.I.S.C.O musically but lyrically  still concerns ‘teenage consumer emptiness’ with a massive neon-lit chorus of  ‘Wo-ooh-a-woah! If you wanna leave this town the red light means GO!’

Stateside Disco is a potential hit single and after the first listen I sent the band a Youtube clip of Japan performing Adolescent Sex in 1978.  They loved it.  I wasn’t saying look guys, its all been done before, more, yeah, I can see exactly what you’re aiming for, a mix of dance music. glam rock and sexy androgyny.    The hook line to Stateside Disco is all about being ‘filthy and glamorous’.

Daisy Chains are probably completely aware that perhaps they are a bit too much working in the same area as bands like Peace and the 1975, but their youthful self-confidence is propelling them onwards and upwards and they do have their own brand of embryonic Art Pop magic going on.

They are looking for serious management and record companies to help them make their big ideas into massive-sounding, million selling records and have already come to the notice of some important people in the Biz (apparently) as well as cult dudes like Richard (Kid) Strange  having played his Cabaret Futura night in London.

A lot of people mocked the Manics in their early days and Daisy Chains will be ridiculed by some but adored by people who want a band of literate, filthy & glamorous dandys who can make them dance away the boredom of our futile existences.

Lets see where they are twelve months from now…


Daisy Chains have the following gigs lined up:

  • Lymington  12th June
  • The Railway, Winchester   26th June,
  • The Joiners, Southampton  27th June supporting the Sherlocks,
  • Blissfields Festival    2nd July,
  • Lymington Arts festival    11th July
  • Proud, Camden, London    18th July
  • Lymington Carnival     19th July,
  • Dublin Castle, Camden, London   24th July

Daisy Chains can be found on Facebook and Soundcloud.

All words by Ged Babey. More writing by Ged on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Photo by Adam Barnes.

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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.


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