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The Strokes & The Moldy Peaches
Kim Porcelli, 21 Jun 2001
My Jesus, the emperor’s looking well tonight, isn’t he? Watching Manhattan’s best – or anyway best-marketed – new bands play before a slavering over-capacity crowd makes you understand why bands like Mercury Rev move upstate to the mountains and stay there.
First up are The Moldy Peaches, an acoustic duo who have been lifted out of the mire of cut-throat competition that is the NYC music scene thanks to their ‘so-bad-they’re-good’ nursery-rhymes and shouty-punk complaints about how New York is dead. That, or possibly thanks to the fact that Kimya performs wearing a huge bunny suit and Adam is dressed as Peter Pan.
Of course, you could say it’s postmodern theatre, or a reaction against over-intellectualisation, or two sussed kids baiting the music industry for a laugh. On the other hand, you could say it’s an exercise more cynical than anything perpetrated by the empty-eyed subjects of their songs, and that if they were from, say, Leixlip instead of New York, this kind of crap would get them glassed off the stage.
So what have we learned? We’ve learned that dressing the part is half the battle. And you can just imagine the shopping list The Strokes brought down to the Village when they decided to invent themselves: skinny ties; skinny suit jackets; drainpipe trousers; MC5 and/or Velvets haircuts. And loads, loads, LOADS of new-wave and American punk-pop records ripe for the ripping-off, not least by The Knack (half the songs are variants on ‘My Sharona’) and, er, Mud (the other half really like ‘Tiger Feet’).
Indisputably amazing musicianship – whiplash guitars and pummeling noo-wave basslines – almost obscure the fact that, behind the slick moves, there’s nothing there at all. The ‘Strokes’, indeed. Alternatively known as ‘The Tea-Leafs.’
Maybe the Peaches were right. On tonight’s evidence, New York’s in big trouble.