Preview: Hush, Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, London
Punk-pop paean to the indie labels
Wednesday 16 April 2008
When pop has finally eaten itself, gorged out on a surfeit of MySpace hype and fleeting scenesters, perhaps it will be those bands and labels built on firm foundations and artistic integrity that remain.
It seems somehow apposite, then, that the Royal Albert Hall, that bastion of enduring beauty, should host Hush, a series of events in support of independent record labels and their gently nurtured talents. The latest berth has been given over to the fruits of Stolen Recordings, led by the buccaneering Reading five-piece, Pete & the Pirates.
"It's absolutely paramount to have Stolen backing us up," says the Pirates' singer, Tom Sanders. "It's key to everything we've done and the reason that we are where we are.
"I don't think we're the kind of band that would have a good relationship with a major label. We don't like being told what to do and we're very clear about what we want. With Stolen, we make our decisions together and have mutual goals. This is how it should be – the independent label being a support rather than a dictator. You need to give bands time to grow. That's what we have had, and that's a real luxury."
The Pirates' own period of growth – the band have played together for six years – seems to be finally yielding recognition, and it's not hard to see why. Theirs is a brand of joyous punk-pop – played out beautifully on the debut album, Little Death – that has the gratifying knack of conjuring pop touch-points while retaining a distinct individuality.
For Hush, which takes place in the Albert Hall's 200-capacity Elgar Room, the band are joined by their labelmates, the enigmatic Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts. "It's quite a privilege to be able to play such an intimate gig at the Albert Hall," Sanders says. "I'd like to do something special for it, because these kind of events are different. It's not a raucous punk gig; the audience are probably a bit more discerning and you need to engage them in a different way."
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