Boil down all the elements of the perfect Indietracks festival band and you’d end up with something like Hot Shorts. The Manchester band’s new album ‘I Understand And I Wish To Continue’ is testament to this.
This is an album loaded with 90s and early 00s nostalgia. With references to Myspace, departed pop stars and plenty of nerdy musical aping. “No Jokes” is a real ripper from the off. It has a super catchy buzzy guitar hook, dirty Elastica chords and attitude.
Despite the title, it all feels like an in-joke and possibly brings with it our first musical homage.
They squeeze in a Queens Of The Stone Age style break down. It’s reminiscent of “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer” and fittingly follows singing about cocaine.
“Please Don’t Let Me Go To Space” is like a Weezer cut from Pinkerton. The high vocal harmonies and screaming chorus are akin to “El Scorcho”. It’s great fun. They continue with the Weezer nod on “Who Brings A Guitar To A Party”. Immediately aping the drum intro to “Undone – The Sweater Song”. However, what follows is more laid back, rhythmically related to Blur’s “Coffee and TV”. The knowingly self-referential lyricism recalls indie scribes Darren Hayman and Stuart Murdoch.
Vocalist Chris Killen characterises himself as the annoying guy with the guitar who thinks everyone wants to hear his new songs at a party.
“Don’t Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before” is pure Hefner, in rhythm, melodic sense and lyrical wit. “I Found You On Myspace” brilliantly sums up the anxiety and weirdness that went with being part of the Myspace generation. “Would I make your top 8? Yeah I know it’s really stupid but I want to know anyway”. It even fades out to the sound of a dial up modem.
“Summer of 2012” again begins with a cheeky homage, this time to Bryan Adams’s “Summer Of 69” (of course), before again bouncing along to 4/4 Hefner-isms. “I’m Not Mad (I’m Just Disappointed)” musically switches back into Weezer mode as does “Lostprophets Tattoo” which showcases more fantastic lyrics emploring a friend to remove their now embarrassing and distasteful Lostprophets tattoo.
There’s a harder edge to “My Cat Is Gonna Live Forever”, with its Nirvana-esque bassline, distorted backing vocals and pounding drums. It kind of feels out of place, moving the band out of the summery indie vibe but certainly offers up something different.
“Beach Ballin” closes the album on a soft note, lamenting the loss of musical heroes (Lou Reed, Prince, Tom Petty and Whitney Houston) alongside the frustration of a generation growing older and ever more confused by modern life “hold down the power button and count to ten”. In one final nostalgic wink they end the album with the final six notes of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name”.
‘I Understand And I Wish To Continue’ is a fun and satisfying game of nerdy music reference bingo. No doubt we missed some along the way.
You may enjoy this is you like: Weezer, Hefner, Wave Pictures, Elastica, Pavement