Album: Various Artists
Yes New York, Wolfgang Morden
Friday 20 June 2003
Much has been made of New York's recent Strokes-fuelled resurgence as a vibrant music scene after almost two decades of decline - a view damned from the outset by its racist presumption. New York has actually sustained a flourishing music scene throughout that period. It's called hip hop. The musical revival welcomed so effusively refers to the (almost exclusively white) strain rooted in Manhattan bohemia and the stilted rhythms of the Velvet Underground. This compilation of new NY bands shoots itself in the foot by pastiching the sleeve design of 1978's No New York, the Eno-curated account of the city's emergent new-wave scene, which prompts unflattering comparisons. It's virtually impossible not to notice the correspondences between the new bands and their new-wave precursors: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, for instance, sound like a Velvets tribute band; The Rogers Sisters have that B-52's twitchy girl-group twang down pat; and as for Calla, well, they even called their album Televise, which is a bit of a giveaway. Of the better tracks, The Strokes exhibit big-league swagger on a live version of "New York City Cops", and The Rapture's techno/Goth crossover "Olio" is one of the more impressive artefacts from the city's vaunted electroclash scene. But few others transcend the city's crippling musical myths.
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