With Brit pop riding the crest of a wave in the 90s on the back of Blur and Oasis there was an abundance of Indie bands who were all given the chance of hitting the mainstream. However for every say Supergrass, Super Furry animals, and Libertines there were certain bands that despite being popular at the time around the late nineties early noughties that nobody would admit to owning their albums.
These bands despite being seen as bland, naff or both took plenty of stick akin to a public whipping. Yet they were big at the time but drifted away. Here is a list of some of these bands some of whom might just work you into a rage at the mere mention of their name, make your cheeks blush in shame or simply shrug your shoulders at having a guilty secret.
Back in 1999 Travis were the band of the moment. Their songs from ‘why does it always rain on me?’ ‘Driftwood,’ ‘writing to reach you,’ ‘Turn,’ were all hit singles with Travis’s second album ‘the man who,’ being an unexpected hit of 1999.
Despite the success and the acclaim they won the 2000 Brit awards for best album and even claimed the Ivor Novello award for best song writing there were those that looked down the nose at the band. Maybe it was because they weren’t part of that Brit Pop click but at times the stick did seem a bit over the top.
Yes the songs were quite twee and even nostalgic but Travis were never a band to work you up in a rage upon playing their first note. The music just hovered in the background without you even realising who it was.
In some respects Travis were an early prototype Coldplay but were unable to build on from ‘the man who.’ Instead like their song ‘driftwood,’ Travis just drifted away into obscurity although apparently they have just released their eighth album.
Sometimes there are bands that are a bit like a shit virus that take hold of your senses and somehow against all good judgement becomes a success. Listening now to this self-indulgent psychedelic twaddle you do wonder how they got an album deal never mind their debut album K being one of the biggest sellers of the 1990s. The lyrics are woeful and the music poor imitations of their influences such as the Grateful Dead and psychedelic far eastern mysticism that just makes you cringe.
The only passable song on the album was ‘Hey Dude,’ which incidentally was one of their hit singles.
As the old saying goes shit may temporally reach the top but it will eventually go down which proved to be the case with Kula Shaker. Apart from the Deep Purple cover of Hush for I know what you did last summer that was thankfully that for Kula Shaker.
Maybe it was Kasabian or the Arctic Monkeys dragging out the last bit of vapour fuel out of Brit Pop that led to a final rise of Indie bands such as the Pigeon Detectives. With its cheery lad anthems of ‘I’m not sorry,’ and ‘take her back,’ that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the mid-nineties Loaded culture the Pigeon Detectives were somehow popular on the airwaves.
The songs were nothing of note that it all seemed a bit dated even in 2006. So much so that at first listening you would have assumed it was another paint by numbers 90’s Brit Pop band. However who exactly bought their albums or even downloaded their singles is a mystery. Their last hit single was the whiny ‘everybody wants me,’ before ironically disappearing into obscurity. Apparently they are still knocking about but their music no longer pollutes the airwaves.
Despite winning the 2005 Brit awards for best album the band were constantly were derided and mocked. Maybe some of the criticism was a bit harsh as ‘somewhere only we know,’ was a well crafted emotional song by Tom Chaplin that seemed genuine.
Nevertheless there is escaping the fact that Keane’s music was quite twee and inoffensive that it was hardly surprising that after 2005 no more was really heard from Keane.
There are bands that are just made for middle management or chief executives. They somehow believe that the loud pompous anthems like ‘all you good people,’ is edgy rock music. However the reality is quite different with its bloated, self-indulgent, paint by numbers job. Relying heavily on Oasis’s standing on the shoulder of giants an album Noel Gallagher openly mocks says a lot about Embrace. Whilst the soft rock of say Europe was the death knoll for rock music before the likes of Mudhoney and Nirvana blew the big hair and pretentiousness away it could be said Embrace was the final nail in the Brit Pop coffin.
A band now so much in obscurity that it’s like realising Luton Town were once a Premier league team. Back in 2004 and 2005 though the band were praised to the high heavens with awards being showered on them like confetti. From ‘oh my God,’ ‘everyday I love you less and less,’ to ‘I predict a riot,’ each song was a hit. Mojo had this to say about their hit album Employment “Employing ill-fitting suits, tongue-in-cheek lyricism and a jerky guitar attack that smelts the classic rock canon into an infectious, head-spinning punch.”
There was certainly a Brit Pop, punkish, and laddish energy about the band that hailed from Leeds. Yet rather than this being the beginning the Kaiser Chiefs had hit their peak with a slow decline since.
‘Yours Truly, Angry Mob,’ was the follow-up album that was released in 2007 but it lacked the freshness of ‘Employment,’ with the only notable song being ‘Ruby.’ The music magazine Spin summed up the album with ‘marches through its baker’s dozen of punk-tinged pop songs with a prickly sense of purpose.”
Nevertheless ‘Yours Truly, Angry Mob,’ did reach number one in the UK album chart but the consensus was that it was all a bit tired and dated. Consequently it was no surprise that the band drifted away from people’s attentions apart from the odd time one of their songs from ‘Employment,’ was played on the airwaves.
Nick Hodgson the drummer did leave the band in 2012 but the band have recently released their sixth album in October of this year. However they haven’t hit the heights that they did in the mid noughties.
Bands that were bad the first time
The Fratellis who were just so awful with its pub anthem ‘Chelsea dagger.’ A band that were so pumped up of their own self-importance that they didn’t realise that far from being Real Madrid they were really the Southport of the football world.
Then there is Toploader with the awful ‘Dancing in the moonlight.’ A song so awful that it’s probably on a torturer’s list of singles to play. The less said about them the better.