Why mainstream indie bands should disband after two albumsWhy mainstream indie bands should disband after two albums

Remember the excitement when a fresh-faced Sheffield foursome called Arctic Monkeys burst onto the scene with adrenaline-fuelled ‘I bet that you look on the dancefloor’? Or perhaps when ‘Last Night’ by The Strokes tore up modern indie music and re-wrote the script ending years of musical wasteland?

Even a hirsute four piece from Tennesee singing ‘Mollys Chambers’ was a defining moment for Indie music in the 21st century. Sadly the buzz around them soon followed their beards out of the door and furore dissipated overnight.

Why am I delving into the archives and dipping my toe in the pool of yesteryear?

Because like a tub of green coated cottage cheese, these bands have now served their purpose and it seems they are beyond their sell by date.

Perhaps a little harsh on the Strokes whose fourth and most recent album ‘Angles’ isn’t bad in comparison, but our attention span has snapped and our ears are on the look-out (or the hear-out) for something new, fresh and above all else, different.

I personally am fed up of listening to bands ludicrously claim ‘This is our best album yet’ only to feel overwhelmingly let down by the end of track eleven.

It doesn’t alway follow this pattern; but many bands discover that debut albums are hard to match, let alone attempting to gazump it.

Maximo Park will never top ‘A Certain Trigger’, The Killers went rapidly downhill after ‘Hot Fuss’ and The Futureheads have tired but unfortunately just fallen short of matching the quality of the eponymous debut ‘The Futureheads’ to name but three.

My proposal is that a law is introduced which forbids a band from releasing a third album to avoid an unfashionable fall from grace. I realise there is a huge sense of aporia about this idea as opinions can fluctuate wildly. There may be a small clutch of music fans who truly believe that Kasabians ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ is a masterpiece, an overlooked groundbreaking album which should grace any bespoke music collection. God help them.

Whilst The Arctic Monkeys second album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ had its flaws, it wasn’t unlistenable unlike their latest effort ‘Suck it and See’ (Nb Library Pictures is a barnstormer though) If they had left it at that, we would have fond memories of them, looking back etherally on their short but distinguished career.

The ephemeral nature of music oftens leads musicians to traverse between bands and styles but in my opinion some bands do not disband quickly enough. If members of the bands recognised their shortcomings and instead of trying to ‘revolutionize’ their sound, they simply ‘dispersed’ and emerged years later from the musical wilderness to form a new musical project equally as unique, fresh and exciting.

Nobody cares about Travis or Snow Patrol anymore, their ‘good’ songs lost in the past. The Rakes were right on the money splitting up just as the tide was turning. They could have slowly stagnated dying a slow and painful musical death, but due to their small number of releases we all give a nod of approval whenever referencing debut ‘capture/release’.

Of course I am talking only about a handful of ‘mainstream’ or ‘popular’ indie bands, there are many musicians or collectives who show impressive and credible longevity and should be allowed to continue infinitely. It’s simply an alarming number of indie bands who tail off by their third release.

Don’t even get me started on Coldplay…

Five albums which are the perfect illustration of bands who should disbanded before releasing said LPs:

Five pointless third/fourth albums:

1) Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
With the exception of ‘Underdog’ this album is tosh, sounds disjointed which makes it difficult to listen to.

2) The Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
After the raucous affairs of the previous two releases, this album appears devoid of charm and charisma and a mellow sound which has sadly lacks punch.

3) Kings of Leon – Only by the night
Not because they went mainstream, but because this was washed out, watered down rubbish which features the vapid and overplayed ‘Sex on Fire’

4) Stereophonics – You gotta go there to come back
A band who have always split opinion, but they released a triumvirate of enjoyable albums until this forgettable little number.

5) The Verve – Forth
We waited a long time for this release, I would be happy to be still waiting.

Any other suggestions welcome…

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  1. I wish The Smiths had split after their first album and the compilation Hatful of Hollow, even though their next records were great, we could live without them, and imagine if they had only the two raw, scuzzy records in their history. There would be none of the slick production of Meat is Murder and it’s follow ups, there would be no Stop Me for super rich wank DJs to re-imagine, none of the filler songs, none of the pain of the song Meat is Murder; and possibly a lot less for Morrissey to build a solo career on, which would have forced an outcome we can only imagine. I say this as a huge fan and friend of the former band.

  2. or one if you’re oasis – shame about kings of leon. they’re a fucking walking topman advert, nowadays. deansgate locks rawk.

  3. When bands release a debut album it is not only the music that propells it into peoples psyche and gains breakneck popularity, there are many other factors.

    1. The current socio-economic climate
    2. The other contenders within the music worlds failings
    3. A downturn in that particular genre of music before it
    4. A lost generations thirst for a musical nuance
    5. Gaining musical respect from the elite at an early stage.

    I’m sure people could pick many more reasons. However, this all comes into the package of when bands and a debut album gain noteriety. The music becomes a representation of a time and place where a vaccum existed. The greatest example of this was Oasis’release of Definitely Maybe. The Stone Roses before them had faltered, The tories were hated and British music had no real icons. In step brash Oasis promising the world and people bought into it.

    They backed it up with a second album also in a quick space of time that kept the snowball effect going. However, things changed new labour were in power and a cluster of bands had broke into the market after oasis’s success. Therefore, Oasis were just part of the scene and by the time Be Here Now came out they were millionaires just like the people they once loathed. The climate around them went cooler. This can be said of many other bands that gained such over night success.

    Essentially we overhype the music of debut albums due to the other factors involved and by the time the third album is released and time has moved on we have only the music to judge them on and collective feel of deflation is realised.

  4. what?!?!? humbug and suck it and see are shit?!? definitely not jack! the reason the arctic monkeys are so fucking good is that they’re taking new directions with their records instead of sticking to the tried and tested. suck it and see is an amazing album, so fresh and each song instantly grabs you, and some of them are already sounding like classics (hellcat splangled shalala, black treacle). and yes, whilst angles might not be in the same league as the other 3 strokes albums, its still one of the most intriguing and original albums of 2011 so far. and west ryder is also a great album. maybe you need to allow bands to readjust and be a little adventerous with their music jack, give them a chance! if all bands split after two albums it’d be a pretty shit world. although you’re spot on with kings of leon, what the fuck have they become?

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