Bono’s Kid

A friend asked if I wanted to go along to a gig later this year. The band that are playing are called Inhaler, so off I went to look them up. It turns out the band are fronted by Bono’s youngest son, who in voice and looks bears an uncanny resemblance to the big man. I listened to the band using a well-known streaming service. They haven’t put much material out but the songs that I did listen to are almost mid to late period U2, although the publicity machine around Inhaler claim the more street-cred generating Echo and the Bunnymen as a formative influence. I looked through the pictures of the Hewson clan, and realised that despite a boyhood mania for U2, stretching to playing their albums on repeat to the extent I can barely listen to them now, I hadn’t ever been remotely curious about Bono’s children. The web of course, has been curious on my behalf and has millions of pictures of them, as they grew up, went to parties, got papped and hung out with other rich kids. The mania over their ‘career choices’ had entire newspaper stories built around them.

It got me thinking about Bono Jr and his bands’ passage to this sound, this delivery, this cadence. The story is familiar enough to echo the lore, plausibly. Four guys meet at a school in Blackrock, Dublin. They make guitar music. They are signed to a deal. How is it possible to have avoided thirty years of music influence and end up sounding like post-POP U2, when U2 went ahead and ditched the experimentation and went solidly for the coin. The hauntology of vaporware, absent. The compression and sparsity of grime and drill, not there. Even the strides that guitar music has made aren’t there. There’s arguably more modernity in the 1975.

It seems all so boring – the band photographed lovingly by Anais Gallagher, daughter of Noel Gallagher, and forming a sort of already finished, already massive, road-ready and heavy rotation ready successor to U2. Rock dynasties. I mean, I guess plenty of young men follow in their father’s footsteps, and not all young men will have Paul Hewson as their father. But it’s an oddly modern tale, Bloomian anxieties of influence without the anxiety, just the cool, calm collected wearing of an inheritance like a comfortable silken slipper.

Five Musical Talking Points

1). ‘Pretty Beat Up’ by the Stones is the *actual* sound of too much cocaine.  Sums up the 80s.  Remember the helicopter at the start of Oasis’s ‘Be Here Know’ (the song was the seven minute ‘D’You Know What I Mean?’)?  This song is that song, for this band.

2).  Yeasayer’s album isn’t as strong as it could have been, or indeed, as people were expecting it to be.

3). ‘Run My Heart’ is the strongest track from Twin Shadow’s new album.  Part Springsteen, part Erasure, and very good.

4). Erasure’s strongest album is a title up for debate.  ‘Erasure’ is pretty good, but ‘Chorus’ is probably stronger in terms of core songwriting.

5). Whilst we’re on a Vince Clark tip, ‘Speak and Spell’ and ‘Upstairs at Eric’s’ are both great, but the later album (with Moyet, as ‘Yazoo’) is stronger.  ‘Only You’ remains one of the defining synth songs of the 80s and the lyric ‘This is going to take a long time / And I wonder what’s mine‘ is one of most evocative couplets about a break up of the entire decade.


Unsigned Music – Swede Mason

I got something through from Glasswerk after a special request to Jack Cook to ‘give me something interesting’. Well, do you all love Neighbours? I used to watch it loads. A guy from New Cross has reworked famous Neighbours deaths into ambient and dance tracks. He’s called Swede Mason and he’s reachable at swedemason at hotmail dot com. If you send him your address and mention what you want – ‘Coffee & Croissants’ EP – then he’ll get back to you I’m sure. Mention Glasswerk too.

The Scala, Kings Cross – The Comedy, Soho – Monkey Nuts, Chalk Farm

Scoot, who plays lead guitar in the band that Joe is in, mentioned he’d heard of Cardiff-based The Rebecca Riots.  I think it’s because he goes to Wales to see his girlfriend Tild, but they are very good.  Here’s their website, and I’d recommend ‘Seroxat Babies’, partly I suppose because of the chorus and partly because of my own involvement with Prozac-derivatives.

‘Lost Sunday’ is the name of the collective (Joe Mahon, Scoot, Dan Walsh and someone called Sam) and, unplugged they sounded a bit like Dodgy.  This is no slur, though, because them being plugged in promises much.  Scoot’s a great lead guitarist and Dan needs some noise to cover his voice, way too big for acoustic music.  Also, Sam’s probably better on drums than on bongos, and Joe’s best moment of the gig was when he distorted the f*ck out of his bass amp, a feat I hope he repeats often in the coming ‘Lost Sunday’ gigs.

I hear General Khaki are signed and writing new songs, and the lead musicians are now romantically involved. Let’s hope they can become the new Eurythymics.  We await the album.

Also worth checking out:

The Boxer Rebellion are really pop-friendly indie, signed by Alan McGee, and so you know what to expect.  I’ve also heard good things about The Open and Thirteen Senses, but I was busy doing something else at the gig.   Afterwards I ate the biggest kebab I’ve ever eaten, and it’s scientifically proven that good gigs make you hungry.