Yeah, I know. It’s another best new band in Manchester rant but there is no way round it. Frazer King are pure genius. Pure musical genius.
I’m judging a battle of the bands in Manchester. They are always weird affairs. Stilted, awkward audiences and bands not sure how to play in the non-gig atmosphere. Then this kid walks in, crazy drunk, wild mop of hair- he goes up to the bloke from XFM whose one of my fellow judges and tells him he hates his radio station. He staggers around the room shouting his head off. Two minutes later he’s onstage.
This is the singer from Frazer King- a charismatic, deranged ruffian whose also sharply intelligent behind his bluff and full on attitude but with enough charm to get away with his combatative attitude. He’s also got the sort of wild-eyed charisma that fires a generation and is as out of control as a ruffian poet should be.
Then the band start playing and it’s wonderful.
There is no way you can define them. No way. It’s definitely not indie. It’s a mental cross between Doo wop, polka, yiddish folk songs played by the Pogues with sort of the Happy Mondays zig zagging attitude (they don’t sound like the Happy Mondays though- it’s just that there is this sense of chaos but also a supreme musical eclecticism that both bands share in very different ways)- it’s also non of these things. It teeters on collapse but somehow holds together and the utter originality of their music is underlined by the great impassioned song writing.
There’s three singers, the unruly bloke yells at the audience and then sings in a tarmac rough voice that has a powerful magnetism to it, he’s one of those kids that oozes music and his vocals blend with the neo doo wop harmonies of his fellow vocalists.
The drummer plays really cool rhythms and uses a woodblock. That rules- a woodblock- who plays one of them these days! The music could be show tunes or it could be Tom Waits if he was from Wythenshawe- Europe’s biggest housing estate near Manchester but again it sounds like something else. Indefinable and original- how many bands can you say that about these days? They zig zag wander through their set of trout mask replicas dressed in scruffy street wear apart from the singers beer stained Acid Mothers Temple T shirt…
But what makes it work is the songs. They have loads of great songs- catchy as fuck top tunes just like their best buddies and fellow Wythenshawe wave band Dirty North.
Please check their myspace (http://www.myspace.com/frazerking) -it gives you a rough idea of their utter genius.
I love them.
If you are a music biz person, investigate them now- they are going to be massive. My instinct feels it and that’s never wrong.
After the show I speak to the unruly kid, he rants and raves about music being terrible, he tells me the noughties are the worst decade for music ever. He’s angry and very funny and in a way right. He tells me that band will split up in two weeks and he will work in a call centre. He’s fibbing. He loves Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart and soul music. I’ve never been arsed about Zappa but Beefheart is a god in my world.
The band’s drummer used to wrote for Wire magazine- Frazer King are a mixture of street kids and suburban music freaks- the best line up for any British band…the drummer’s dad was in a band called the Kenneth Turner Set who shared an EP with the Membranes in 1980- it was our first release- I also know his mother from when I grew up back in Blackpool. He tells me all this whilst the unruly singer is arguing with someone else- it’s total anarchy. It’s like that legendary Sex Pistols moment when Steve Jones tells reviewers that ‘we’re not into music we’re into chaos’
Frazer King have updated this they are into the music and the chaos.
They will be massive