Louder Than War were recently approached by Finnish indie group Bypassers asking us to check out their new single. We did & in turn passed the link round our team of writers. One of them was impressed enough to want to find out more about the band. Read on if you do too.
Somewhere in a dark corner of Scandinavia something is lurking. It’s not the iconic fairisle knit as worn by Sarah Lund in The Killing that made us all want to rush out, buy our own and then sit for hours on end wondering how the murderer actually did it. And it’s not some rather faded but equally iconic pair of bell bottoms previously found attached to the backsides of the female members of Abba during the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 (because one is Danish and the other is Swedish). No, the thing that lurks quite so startlingly is the spirit of Britpop and it’s coming over rather loud and clear across the North Sea from Finland in the form of Helsinki based indie rock outfit Bypassers.
Maybe in a land where Sami Hyypia is god, people forever live (sorry) between the years 1995 & 1996. Perhaps the Finnish Prime Minister looks like Tony Blair, everyone wears a Dark Green Parka to the office, cool kids own a Union Jack emblazoned guitar, stand with their feet apart like King Monkey and say ‘Mad for it’ to the dismay of their parents.
So did Britpop actually die or, like some subcultures, did it simply slip below the radar only to resurface from time to time and raise a couple of well chosen fingers at The Establishment? It certainly lives on in the form of Liam & his Beady Eye cohorts. Suede have reformed again, Noel & Damon are not just talking but have shared a stage together and most surprisingly of all The Stone Roses have performed a resurrection so remarkable that it has been a joy to behold.
So what of Bypassers, the Finnish standard bearers of this most British of Musical styles. Formed as recently as 2012 their list of influences comes straight from the Rough Guide to Britpop, just tick them off as you go along – The Verve, Oasis, The Smiths, The Libertines etc. This, their new single, has the rather unfortunate title of Some Nothing Song. I could come up with any number of jokes here but that would be unfair when it’s plain that the members of this band seem to have their hearts in the right place. They are listening to some good stuff, it’s just not as original as it could be. It’s like they’ve stuck an Oasis album onto a copy machine, turned the tone up to 10 and pressed copy!
The opening is rather sweet, strumming guitars reminiscent of early Oasis give way to a vocal that plunders the Britpop book of rhyming words for such gems as time, mine, line and leans heavily on the echo for words like play & today. The song desperately wants to be anthemic and at 6 minutes exactly it clocks in only a minute and a half less than Champagne Supernova. But where the latter sends you on a psychedelic journey to the stratosphere the former is more like a 3 hour bus ride to Salford via Wigan, Longsight and Burnage and not necessarily in that order.
It’s Britpop by numbers and even though it’s not badly produced the singer should remember that no-one does Liam Gallagher quite as good as the man himself. What it needs is a much better title, the lyrics being tidied up a bit, a good chorus here and there and a Squire-esque guitar solo to tie it all together.
Somewhere in the heart of Marylebone as he settles down to watch another episode of X-Factor Noel Gallagher is shaking his head and raising a glass at the sad demise of Britpop. May it rest in peace.
All words by Martin Copland-Gray. More work by Martin on Louder Than War can be found here.