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(This was written as a response to Drowned in Sound asking its writers to come up with a what-do-you-think-of-the-show-so-far 2011 field report, but it’s buried on a thread full of Radiohead-bores trying to outdo each other with obscure references to acts whose own mothers haven’t heard of them so I’m sticking it on here. Biiiiig piece soon – I’ve given up on trying to finish my 2010 round-up for now, so you can have A-G as a stopgap. It’s about 20,000 words, is A-G, so you’ll be able to wrap your sandwiches in it.)


The name of the act and the few examples of its work I’ve previously had the misfortune to encounter make me want to beat to death the nearest available trustafarian. Slowly. But ‘Paper Romance’ by Groove Armada is an absolute gem of a single and as good a refutation as any of the jaded fools who continue against all evidence to insist that they don’t make ’em like that any more. Oh, and it came out in 2010, apparently, reaching the giddy heights of number 167 in the UK hit parade. Whatever. Best ignore the silly video with a girl writhing around in her pants. I’ve nothing against girls writhing around in their pants per se, but there’s a time and a place for everything.


Despite the fact that the act has the worst name since Groove Armada, the fact that the title of its album makes me want to hide behind a cushion and the twin facts that the act’s music sounds like it was designed by a computer programmed to distil a checklist of thirty years of indie-cool reference points into thirteen bite-sized chunks and contains not one single original idea, I cannot stop playing Passive Me, Aggressive You by The Naked and Famous. To have so brazenly re-written ‘Time To Pretend’ this soon after the event takes some chutzpah. To have thrown bits of ‘Kids’ into the same song is very cheeky indeed, in the best possible way. But to have made all of the above work is nothing short of genius. I love this record unconditionally, without ruling out the possibility that I’ll have forgotten about it by October.


No danger of that with Forward Russia, who haven’t released anything since 2008 and may well never do so again, thus not technically qualifying for a place here. But I’m slow readers’ group all the way, which must be why it’s taken me until now to recognise that this is comfortably the greatest British guitar band of the last twenty years. Second (and better) album Life Processes (here’s Breaking, Standing) available for 49p plus postage last I looked. You’d be a jaded fool not to.

posted on Tuesday 29th March, 2011

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