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and can make a decent living out of it, why would you care how "big" they were?
surely in that sense the "bigger" a band gets the worse the experience becomes for a fan? bigger venues, more expensive tickets, more expensive drinks at the venue, sound quality in arenas/stadiums is notoriously shite
They could have been HUGE.
if delivering their songs in a brass band style doesn't lead them to the top of the charts, I don't know what will.
they seem like nice guys with sensible ideas but the music is pretty boring
But they've been a tad to inconsistent for deserving of biggest band in the country status.
Though at least they've gamely stuck at it - whereas their co underrated bands of the time Doves and The Bees have both been posted missing.
They were awful 3 times.
Album-wise, textbook case of diminishing returns (plus DYLRM? has Hard-Fi-terrible artwork).
I can definitely understand why they're not that big.
It was just after "Do You Like Rock Music?" came out. They were pretty good. I think that album was their last chance to kind of go overground as it were, and it didn't really happen. They've become more idiosyncratic again since then.
but now, in 2014, you can't really say they're a band with wide appeal to the average pop picker.
rest of the stuff is utter stodge.
I was listening to Vahalla the other day just scratching my head on how people don't love them. Maybe they,re just a bit too contemplative for the crowd that wanted them to be the Pixies or a bit too idiosyncratic/conceptual for those that would accept them as a very good post rock band.
They have also suffered from that "released a fully formed brilliant first album" syndrome where no matter what they did later people would say they weren't as good. Truth is every album released has spectacular moments. I would argue Rock Music and Valhalla are just as adventurous, eclectic and fascinating a records as Decline.
I think they've released 5 great albums in a row and hoping they find a way to continue on. Always interested in what they're going to do. Machineries of Joy was massively underrated. Lots of gems on that album.
And I've seen them live at least 4 times in the States and they were fantastic every time.
Rock Music veers between having some great tunes and then occasionally having a few songs that sound like they were a calculated effort to appeal to the masses that ended up sounding a bit bland.
Never clicked with Valhalla at all so Machineries was definitely the stereotypical "return to form" album (does sag a bit in the middle but that is a minor quibble).
As for live the first time I saw them was disappointing (partly due to the QMU's annoying barrier policy and over zealous security spoiling the mood for band and fans alike but I saw them again touring Rock Music and they were brilliant and demonstrated why they had a good live reputation in the first place.
it's a (very mildly) leftfield indie-rock record, meat and potatoes for the most part. It's a great indie-rock record, but it's hardly Captain Beefheart.
It's the complete opposite of eclectic.
you'd imagine the rest of the album to be very, very different. But from track 4 on it is slow and steady all the way.
From the Sea to the Land Beyond which they did the soundtrack for.
Basically its a film using old archive footage of Britain's coastline. No narration but the music and the way it's edited tells a story.
It's basically a lyric-less greatest hits, but everything's played with the pace and sadness required for a soundtrack about off-season/closed-down seaside towns. Really beautiful, and I'm not even a massive fun of the rest of their stuff.
They're songs tend to be more interesting, nowadays at least, when they're not trying to write songs that have crossover appeal, and I don't really think they have what it takes to really be huge. They're too idiosyncratic (usually in a good way) to take over, plus Yan's voice isn't particularly strong and their stage presence/gigs are often far better when they're playing to a room of converts.