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The best kept secret in music


This gig was about Oxfam and My First Radio. OK, it was about Oxfam. But, when the Oxfam reps were going around asking us to sign petitions to end poverty in the developing world, they might as well have got us all to sign next to 'I agree that My First Radio are amazing and we will be hearing a lot more about them in 2007' too. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s deal with the openers.

First we have a band called The Half Rabbits who are pretty much in thrall to the whole 80s Editors type movement. In fact it says on the Club Hedonistic site that they have supported Editors. Perhaps they were taking notes, stalking Tom and the gang down the hallways and such. Because the problem here is that the Rabbits really don't seem to break free from being mere copyists, and to copy Editors, who are copies of Interpol, who are (supposedly) copies of Joy Division. Well, you need to bring something fresh to the party unless you want to come over as a 4th generation photocopy. The singer has the same Ian Curtis aping 'I am not interested' low mumble. But instead of sounding cool, most of the time it really sounds like he isn't interested. Most of the set didn’t grab me, yet one or two songs were admittedly, impressive. Notably on one of the tracks near the end, where they really came alive with some stop start rhythms and a great chorus. It was almost like a different band.

Then a band full of guys in Bowler Hats take the stage (Fire in Cairo) and really make an impact with their opening couple of tracks which contained perfectly formed Saves The Day style American Punk Anthem (TM) choruses, but mixed with a nice hint of British angular style spikiness in the verses, and some tight, almost ska like rythms. Sadly it all started to go downhill with a slow song which sounded like it had come off 'Worst Teen American Movie Anthems Ever', and a few tracks following that which just came over like weak Blink 182, or My Chemical Romance rip offs. In fact the singer’s voice seemed to go more and more Americana as the set went on. One track near the end of the set went some way to recapturing the impression left by the openers, but it was too little too late. By the time the major label production and A+R team have got their hands around these guys, the emphasis will be on the shitty American teen movie aspect of the sound I am sure.

Vocalist Ross lights a cigarette as My First Radio take the stage, and as the intro loop of opener 'Prayers Over Static' whirls away in the background, he coolly takes a few drags and paces a little, glancing down and to the side, before flicking the butt into the empty space ahead, swinging up his guitar, and powering into the opening verse with the rest of the band. It is a gear change from such nonchalance to such intensity, that you realise, not only does smoking seem really cool now*, but this lot are supremely confident in their ability to mess with your eardrums.

Tonight MFR masterfully tread the line between technical brilliance and ragged slightly rough around the seams raw power. Utilising everything from slide guitar, looping effects pedals, distorted bass, and chiming delays, they succeed where bands like Mogwai fail, by adding the vital ingredient of killer tunes and amazing vocals.

Imagine all the yearning and emotion of Elbow, the ear for a melody of Coldplay, allied with the take your face off guitars of Six By Seven and you will be somewhere close to where My First Radio are at.

They mix songs containing more conventional structure with almost linear tracks, containing one long verse, which will build and build into a giant art house soundscape chorus before collapsing into a wall of sound. This change in traditional song format that MFR are fond of, may be less 'commercial maaaan' but adds a wonderful unpredictability to the set, with the different sorts of tracks melding together to create a coherent whole rather than a load of disparate songs. Bursts of sound that hang together like jagged knives on a rack.

One track nicks Elbows' looping ‘Any Day Now’ vocal trick and takes it one step further with multiple layers of voice, before grinding to a halt. Similarly, ‘The Buzz’ slams into the set before building up to one big chorus and abruptly shocking the crowd into silence, by stopping suddenly. ‘Strangers’ powers along with its traditional verse chorus style. While later songs, including a beautiful 'lighters in the air' torch song amaze.

The beauty of My First Radio as a band is that they are far from conventional, whilst being very close to conventional. They have the danger that Coldplay and Embrace wish they had, the visceral edge that Elbow want, and the tunes that all those indie noisemakers yearn for. Now where is that petition?

*rather than making you stink, and giving you cancer, don’t do it kids.

It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s Coventry. At times like this you don’t need The Enemy reminding you life’s rubbish and you’ve got work in the morning.
You need some of what the young lass dancing wildly at the front has had. Most of all, you need MyFirstRadio and Mourning Becomes Electra. They can take you away from all of this.
In the case of MyFirstRadio, they launch you skywards on a rocket co piloted by Muse and Slowdive and fuelled by lashings of spiralling guitars and then Mourning Becomes Electra whisk you away to Wigan circa 1991 when Verve were taking their first wibbly wobbly steps towards super stardom in the days before people started buying their records and they added The.
The just got out of bed look, floating, spacey guitars of MBE (as they will be known for the remainder of this review) owe much to the early workings of Richard Ashcroft’s mind.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Like a randy rhino in the mating season, MBE mange to be both delicate and full of raw passion and their best five minutes or so comes in So Long.
Glistening guitars twinkle and tumble dreamily out of the speakers and then launch towards the heavens while Martin Orton breathlessly yelps: “I’ve waited for so long.”
The waiting may soon be over. -

Fans of Bloc Party and Muse take note: My First Radio’s star is on the rise. Despite my lukewarm feelings at first, My First Radio has grown on me. They have the sound of Muse, and the thrashing guitar effects of Bloc Party, and yet all the while, they manage to hold on to their own unique and original sound. Though I’ve heard only a scant five tracks, I don’t think it’s too soon to declare MFR a special talent at all. Saying they’re on par with their influences may not be that far of a stretch either.

Tracks like “Prayers Over Static” and “Strangers” establish My First Radio as a beacon of hope in the oversaturated and increasingly dull indie scene. What they do with their music puts them in a league of their own as far as I’m concerned. Sure, they’re not quite there yet, but I feel that they could unleash one of the better indie albums of 2008.

As frontman Ross informs me,The group plans to release their first single in the next couple of months through an independent label called Series 8 records, which is owned and run by the group’s manager, Trevor Holden. His intention is to generate a bit of interest through his label and then perhaps sell them on to a major or a bigger independent label.

MFR is one of the most gifted under-the-radar talents in indie music, but with a simple record deal, they may not stay there all that long. Regardless, their star is very much on the rise and you better believe you’ll be hearing a lot more about these guys in the coming years. My First Radio is a bandwagon you MUST get on!



Prayers Over Static EP - Prayers Over Static, Don't Be Drowned, Halo, The Buzz, So Low

Strangers (single) - Strangers, My Secret Plan

I Am Echo (single) - I Am Echo, The Fire Is Out

Progress (download single) - Progress

Youthful Things (download single) - Youthful Things

It's Raining Again (single) - It's Raining Again, The Chiming



"My First Radio combine the fragile atmospherics of Engineers, Mogwai and Redjetson with the mashed up effects pedal punk of Bloc Party and add the vocal kick in the nuts of Six By Seven and latter day Primal Scream. Shoegazing with size twelves." - God Is In The TV

"[My First Radio] launch you skywards on a rocket co piloted by Muse and Slowdive and fuelled by lashings of spiralling guitars... spacey, shoe gaze majesty..." -

" moving indie band." - The Guardian

"I Am Echo: If the producers of Planet Earth are listening – we’ve found your next theme tune. Forget those Scandinavian rockers – what you want is some home-grown talent in the form of My First Radio. It’s every bit as anthemic which is why it’s our release of the week." - BBC Weekender

"Tracks like “Prayers Over Static” and “Strangers” establish My First Radio as a beacon of hope in the oversaturated and increasingly dull indie scene. What they do with their music puts them in a league of their own..." -