‘Do What You Gotta Do’-
Five-piece female band are hard to categorise, and impossible to ignore.
It will take the wind out of you, and make you want to not catch your breath…
not so much my assimilation, but a less than verdant paraphrasing of Art Wednesday’s judgement call. They go on to describe their song, ‘Over and Over’, as a mythological “Doc Martin stomping bitch-slap right in the gob”. It is a vivid and augmented reality of the experience one received from listening to Fake Club. No hyperbolic ‘angst’ or pseudo-rebellion; the five-piece group are a genuine article. Albeit it, one with tears in their tights and blood in their hair. That track, is filled with the band’s clench-fisted auteur; sound clips and distortion, mingling with collegiate passion and jittery assassination. The riff that baptises the song in a lake of fire, is staunch and invigorating. It is reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys, circa their debut; fresh and street-smart. When the vocal swings into action, it is all guns blazing. There is a little distortion, giving the tones and edges nods to the likes of Alison Mosshart, during her Dead Weather days. The guitar is barbaric and domineering; it wills you to stick your head in its jaws; and makes you tremble with fear and excitement as it crawls away. The percussion is staccato and pummeling; I could imagine the likes of Dave Grohl and Gary Powell exchanging fervent glances of jealousy. It is a stampede of a track, but not simply one of bluster and effect. The words, vocals and overall mood of the track is enforced to educate, enunciate and seduce as well as slap you. The track is quite chorus-lead. In the sense that the words ‘over and over’ are mixed with ‘under’ to create clever lyrical twists and catchy, chant-able snippets. There is no chorus-verse-chorus. The title and chorus is queen, and the sound chaperoning, is its abiding king. What you take away from that song, is a huge respect for the originality and zeal of the group; who also manage to integrate and incorporate elements of ’70s punk, creating a resultant head rush. I shall talk about the new single anon; a little more about the girls in the band…
Fake Club, are, consequently, Aicha, Chloe, Carmen, Rosie and Vicky– a London-based quintet. Perhaps sardonically done, or intended to be ironic or understated, the girls have ascribed themselves “Spice Girls with instruments”. It may be a fey piss-take or insouciant rebellion. The girls are a five piece likes the girls of spice. They are each undeniably gorgeous and heart-breaking; they have distinct and varied personalities, and are a close-knit band. The label is not altogether flippant. They have the potential and star power to be hugely popular and inspiration to a wide demographic; not just the premiated teenage market. They are not management tools or prefabricated characters; they are intuitive and headstrong, and intend to make a mark and exorcise message of encouragement, inspiration and meaning. In a sense they are a more mature, 21st century equivalency of The Spice Girls. Less concerned with the business of ‘fun’ and ‘catchy’, with all its ephemera; they have politics, passion and stacked heels. They admit themselves that they want to- some one imagine literally- kick against the odorous sub-culture of ‘fame’, ‘celebrity’ and all the assorted talent contests, prurient tail-chasing and noxious glossy magazine covers. They share ideologies with the punk pioneers, and in a sense they sound something quite brand-leading. The prevailing ideology amongst female solo artists and groups, has been towards a soul/pop leaning, with perhaps a hint of rock to its demeanour. To my mind there are seldom few, especially all-female, groups that can convey such a raw and authentic edge of punk, blues rock, metal and everything else you care to mention. Having looked at a rather fully-fledged and comprehensive article by The Guardian, I discovered that Fake Club are in the process or recording and finishing a debut album. That will be present, shortly, and will contain an intriguing and inscrutable mixture of sounds, attitudes and messages. Now, then; to the business at hand!
It is not with a bang or trumpeting nor punk thrash that begins ‘Do What You Gotta Do’. Instead it is studio chatter and ad lib. It is a little like Let It Be, only less tumultuous. One of the band are remarked to say: “Okay…when should I go?”, before a close-mic order of: “We’re rolling, whenever you’re ready” orders the music to begin. A subterfuge of a scream is let rip before an almighty riff beacons from the heavens. It is a swampy, staggering, wounded Joker, hunting for Batman on the streets of Gotham City. The street is on fire and the good people run, nullified by a denigrated cannonball of an intro. There are shades of Jack White; I’m thinking the White Stripes debut, and later The Dead Weather. It is moody and a real blues stomp. In, what will become a repeated requisite during this review, Queens of the Stone Age linger in the mix too. Also Superunknown-era Soundgarden crackle with furious intent. Seeing as some of those bands contain the greatest and most innovative guitars of the last 10 years, it is a remarkable feat. After the spoken word beginning, the fierce introduction shocks ever harder and the band display a keen and mature understanding of the importance of psycho-acoustics. If you hook the listener in before a word is sung, you are on to a winner. The drumbeat is fastidious and primal and ballasts the guitar beautifully as a metal toe-capped manifesto is pinned to the door of the Church of Celebrity, written in Dejavu Sans Condensed blood spatter. As the vocal cuts in, the overall sound fuses ’90s grunge and metal, together with Suzi Quatro ’70s glam; shifting and conflagrating the two in a wild tryst of sound. The lyrics: “I’ll tell you a secret/I’m afraid of lightning/put it in the shoebox” are quite dadaesque in its philosophyy, but perhaps is the beginning of the Fake Club’s modernisation of Parable of the Sower. I especially like the howling bursts of guitar played lower in the mix, punctuating the lines in the verses. It gives a great blues rock touch, and adds atmosphere and firepower too. The lyrics ride the line between Mosshart’s tenure during ‘Weather’s ‘Sea of Cowards’: all fuzzy drawl and cigarette store conversation. There is a fraction of Quatro, as well as rough-edged Patti Smith and Brody Dalle, and a more utilitarian Joan Jett. Just before the 1:00 mark there is a wordless vocal call and the mood becomes less aggressive as the chorus arrives. The title is repeated, delineated like a motivational mantra amidst chaos. It is catchy and grunge-tinged all at once. It is the sort of line the likes of Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell or Kurt Cobain would utilise. However, Fake Club give it a slight pop edge, an air of accessibility. Almost to counterbalance the fight club of fused electrics that have assaulted your brain; the chorus sweeps in to invade your heart. It has an everyman appeal, and a simple message for a modern age: “Living isn’t easy/When you’re growing up/In the town”. There is a distorted whoops and an insidious chuckle as we are back to the harder sound. Against the ghosts of White, Mosshart and Quatro stand at the doorway as a more Gothic tableaux is unveiled. One that talks of graveyards, floral theft, moonlit rebellion, where out heroine explains she “put kisses on (your) forehead“. The chorus comes back up, and the displaced elation of ’90s grunge and modern pop combine gloriously. Where as the song’s initial stages reassembled a killer stalking her victim in the shadows, the closing stages are more jubilant and crowd-pleasing. The lyrics are given a less anxious feel to them and the sisters-in-arms spirit of The Spice Girls is influential.
I have gone into so much detail, as I was blown away by the band. They have the stunning looks what you would expect from a ‘girl band’, but are more mature and sexier and have brains and guts to their aesthetic; they are not plastic fake-ness and vapid-mind ambitions. They are strong, independent women, making incredible music. It is rare to hear an entirely female band making such authentic blues rock/metal sound, whilst able to infuse it with a populist edge that will appeal to the masses and underground, alike. The guitar work is inspired and enthralling from start to end. There is a lunging, staggering grunge punch to it. You can almost smell the rain of Seattle percolate lustfully. During the intro as well as towards the chorus there is an essence of stoner rock and metal. Blues rock is a common thread and the sound of Detroit and Mississippi join the party. There are a lot of modern influences too, and the guitar has a new and urgent aura to it. The bass and drums are superb, and help propel, levy and emphasise the lyrics wonderfully. Special kudos must be given towards the vocals. Although there are clear influences from The Kills, The White Stripes as well as glam and punk, again there is a uniqueness to them. They are intent and stick in your head a long time after the song has ended. The band are incredible tight and studied, and create a motivational monster of a song. I can’t think of any negatives, but it will be intriguing to see if any softer tones are present when the album is released, as I believe Fake Club have a vast array to their arsenal and can span genres and moods effortlessly with authenticity.
Get into the club, as it were, and hear everything they have recorded. It attests to a challenging and restless group of young woman, who could quite easily top charts and rule BBC 6 Music, XFM and Aboslute Radio’s play-lists for months on end. I loved the track and was not expecting such a feast for the ears and minds. If you are looking for something fresh and bombastic with a modern message of relevance and incredible reverence…
… Check out this wonderful single.