My radio was performing somersaults, metaphorically speaking. A couple of months back, London's BBC station GLR unwittingly invited punk pop combo Kenickie in to review the new singles on a Friday afternoon. A mistake? Well, if old presenters extraordinaire Chris Evans, Chris Morris and returnee Danny Baker had been shoved into one show together, the mayhem couldn't have been more breathtaking. Kenickie, bless their PVC and fake-fur-loving hearts, are stars. Even the terrorised radio presenter would have to agree with that. And live, a yelping girl-gang (despite a male drummer) with non-stop surreal wit is what you get.
Plus their album At The Club is a top- rate debut: you can't argue with 18-year-olds writing drunk-on-life-and-to-hell-with-hangovers pop. But the sexiest thing about Kenickie is their fearless streak. They were studying for A-levels in 1995-6, but the hardest lessons early on were the battles outside the classroom. As 16-year-olds, the Sunderland blossoms first recorded for girl-punk-oriented Newcastle label Slampt. But it ended in acrimony with Kenickie accused of betrayal; the notorious indie-militant types at the label were hostile when Kenickie's eyes turned to EMI in London.
The song "Punka" documents the troubled relationship, which led at the time to heckling mini-mobs at Kenickie gigs. Now "Punka" is reissued as a single and its sarcastic lyrics ("Lo-fi songs are great/never learn to play/underground cliche/Punka!") are likely to be on TOTP, Kenickie are definitely having the last laugh.
They have ambition as big and bright as the neon-lights in Leicester Square, and write rock-fuelled pop that most boy bands can't come near for exuberance. Slampt should be proud.
Kenickie will make whopping mistakes in coming years, but that fearless adrenalin will see them through. Fingers are crossed that in the US, Kenickie will do for the teenager what Oasis did for rock and the Spice Girls did for pop: proclaim supremacy.
EYE ON THE NEW A chance to catch fledgling bands in the Glasgow indie scene at this event organised by wistful guitar popsters, Belle & Sebastian. Among unknowns (The Starlets, The Bathers, V-Twin) will be long-time Scot stalwarts The Pastels.
Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow 21 Jun, 2-10pm, freeReuse content