Viva Brother Famous First Words(Geffen) Buy it from Insound
My initial thoughts when taking on this record to review was that it would be fun to take the knives out and give them a good sharpening in preparation for the inevitable slaughtering. However, I decided to approach this record with a fresh and sincere mindset; morons are after all due a fair trial and still capable of producing good music.
I wish I hadn’t. Straight off: this album is an abomination. It’s a rancid pile of regurgitated tripe.
Viva Brother (Formerly Brother) are a self proclaimed ‘Grit-pop’ band. The analysis of their own music is actually pretty spot-on, it is indeed an amalgamation of Brit-Pop and some salty-gritty-shit you find in bins on street corners that you throw out onto the road to be trodden on.
This so-called ‘reinvention’ of Brit Pop is perhaps the most frustrating element to the band’s perception. It’s no re-birth, it’s not a bunch of young kids discovering a series of bands from a long gone era and feeling so inspired by them that they want to breathe life into its forgotten legend. It’s a bunch of guys around my age who were alive and kicking for Brit-Pop and experienced it, but were simply not old enough to go out and enjoy and embrace it fully. They are simply people with regressive tastes, mindsets and attitudes. They are the same people who drunkenly scream at and hassle DJs for Oasis and Stone Roses in every bar they go to because in their world they are still bands that are not only still relevant but also somehow fundamental.
Delving into individual songs here would be somewhat pointless; it’s all a huge congealed glob of football terrace chants put to music. Apart from Fly By Nights which sounds like Reef, and that may even be the greatest compliment on the record. Most worrying is what they actually hear in their influences, the Blur rip-offs are undeniable but lack any semblance to the charm that soaked said band. Rarely do the band ever sound like anything beyond a 90s indie karaoke outing but with instruments.
Stephen Street’s production is quite frankly ghastly. It’s almost as though he has had a gun pointed at his head by the band whilst screaming, “Make us sound like everything shit about the nineties but worse”. In all fairness, he has succeeded triumphantly.
The lyrics succeed. They succeed in being so painfully child-like, banal and turgid that suddenly reading the contents of a shampoo bottle is like clasping a copy of a signed first edition by Dostoevsky.
Ultimately, this feels like a bunch of misguided opportunists who in the wake of the Oasissplit have thought that suddenly the world is lacking in a Liam Gallagher-type gobshite telling everyone how great they are. Well, while Liam is an undeniable gobshite, he’s a gobshite with personality and this band and this album are so lacking in personality they may as well be trying to rip off Daniel O’Donnell rather than Oasis.
The zero rating may seem like an obvious one, in an attempt to jump on the bandwagon to the slaughterhouse, but this album is bad. Not only is the album bad, no... awful, actually no... repugnant. It is also what it represents that is equally offensive – their approach is almost thug-like – self-declarations of genius and wonderment whilst behaving in a manner that can only be described as threatening. While everything about the persona of Viva Brother may scream ‘Like us or else…’ the content has nothing to say at all.8 August, 2011 - 10:24 — Daniel Dylan Wray