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What the Daily Mail make you forget about My Chemical Romance

May 30th, 2008

As a legion of My Chemical Romance fans prepare to march to the offices of the Daily Mail, Pete Fear looks at why the hell anyone would care. It’s because of the music, man!

My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance are the most horrific, potently nasty and unpleasant thing that will ever happen to the Daily Mail: a cranked up rock band that will turn your children into devil worshippers and invite Eastern European asylum seekers into your home.

But forget that, because even the BBC and The Guardian know this. All of the coverage of this Saturday’s Dacre-baiting march has focused on the black hair, the Converse slip-ons, the scars and the straight edge tattoos. No one has mentioned that My Chems are one of the finest rock bands to emerge from the States this decade.

Emerging from the ashes of a Thursday-aping hardcore world (via Eyeball RecordsI Brought You Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love), it was the Lifetime-meets-John Hughes movies sounds of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge that launched MCR as both a damn great band and a sociological case study.

Three Cheers… is a landmark record, a quick-shot blast of sharp turns of phrase and punk rock guitars. From the faux-Spanish tongues and chuggy Radiohead-isms of ‘The Jetset Life Is Going To Kill You’ to the pop-is-pain mega choruses of ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’, Three Cheers… is Fall Out Boy’s From Under The Cork Tree’s less saccharine sister, positioning them as this generation’s Queen to FOB’s Air Supply.

The songs – and more importantly the album as a whole – make the current consternation of the Lord Rothmere-owned organ and its hatebred middle aged readers irrelevant.

The fact that My Chemical Romance have been derided as much as bands such as Kiss (Knights in Satan’s Service) is down to the fact that Three Cheers…, and The Black Parade, with its pompous Mercury/May-influence, are as full of hope and rock stomp as records like Destroyer (Detroooit Rock City!!)

Gerard Way has become a genuine New Jersey success story; not for any crusade against the newspaper backlash, but for being in a band that blows the bloody doors off, every time.

Kids In Glass Houses: throwing their own stones

May 29th, 2008

In the week that Welsh rising stars Kids In Glass Houses release their debut album, Smart Casual, they take the time out to talk to Robin Sparkles about biding their time and then signing to a heavy metal label.

Kids In Glass Houses

September 2006. A bunch of little-known UK acts are set to support some US emo types deep in the depths of Camden Town. There was a group of angry young men from Watford called Gallows, and then a double Welsh suckerpunch of The Blackout and Kids In Glass Houses.

It felt like there was something special happening; like magical wisps of stardust in the air. Well, maybe not quite, but it was a great gig.

From there Gallows went on to sign to Warner Brothers for a fuckload of money, re-release their awesome debut album and continued tearing up venues across the country while The Blackout went on a charm offensive, releasing a mini-album and a full-length.

KIGH, on the other hand got left by the wayside. Sure, they had their moments of glory supporting Lostprophets and Paramore as they toured their E-Pocalypse EP incessantly, but they never really broke out. Now, it looks like it is finally KIGH’s time as the five Valley boys prepare to release their debut album, Smart Casual.

“That gig definitely had that turning point feel to it. That was the first time we played London properly. I remember being really nervous. I don’t remember much of the show but we got a manager and an agent sprung from that show so it was an important one for us,” says singer Aled Phillips of that fateful gig.

Watch the video to ‘Easy Tiger’

“It felt like we were taking a long time to get an album out, but it felt like we were waiting to be in the strongest position we could be in. We were hungry to get where they were, but we didn’t want to rush it and release something that was half-baked either.”

That decision to bide their time worked well. The band – completed by guitarists Joel Fisher and Iain Mahanty, bassist Andrew Shay and drummer Phil Jenkins – spent most of 2007 on the road, writing and courting labels who were chomping at the bit for them.

Roadrunner Records eventually won that battle and athough the metal stable seems an unusual choice for a band with the powerpop tendencies of KIGH, Phillips thinks it was the right decision.

“They were willing for us to carry on doing exactly what we wanted to do and them just support us, so it was an ideal deal for us.”

Label in place, it was time to record their full-length, which they did towards the end of last year. The resulting album is 12 tracks of eclectic, melodic emo-rock that follows on in the tradition of Lostprophets. It’s a debut that crackles with the electricity of a band teetering on the edge of something very exciting, and KIGH couldn’t be happier with it.

“It’s the album we wanted to write. We have no regrets with it. It’s a lot more mature and varied than the EP, the album has a lot of different influences which we were keen to explore.”

Watch the video to ‘Give Me What I Want’

The broad-base of musical tastes that the five members have keeps things interesting. “That’s definitely come across clearer than it ever has before, because we all like completely different bands,” explains Aled. “Phil’s really into his pop, me and Ian have always been into hardcore and Joel likes Radiohead so when it comes together, it works quite nicely.”

It also means that they dodge pigeonholing, as their catchy, hook-laden, sing-along anthems sit comfortably between the intensity of Gallows, the screamo leanings of The Blackout and the pop-punk of Paramore – they can (and will) collect fans from all corners when on the road.

So as KIGH venture out on their headline tour, things are all good in their camp. So where do they want things to go from here? The ever modest Phillips ponders, “Things have never taken a massive leap forward so we’ve always had time to get our heads around it. So as long as we’re slightly bigger than we are now, as long as things aren’t going backwards and we’ve maybe seen a bit of the world, we’ll be happy.”

Well, it may have taken them a bit longer than their peers to get here, but we have a sneaking feeling that with Smart Casual as their secret weapon, the only way for them is skyrocketing upwards.

Smart Casual is out now on Roadrunner Records

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