SINGLE REVIEW: A SONG FOR COUNCILLOR BY THEE MVPS
Bright, energised and possibly the cheeriest song about a funeral, the latest Thee MVPs single, “A Song for Councillor” is a certified garage-rock anthem.
If any band currently making music in Leeds is worthy of the title of veteran, it is Thee MVPs. Having toured the length of not only this country but North America too; with releases with labels like the Swedish PNKSLM and the American Burger Records; playing gigs with acts as large as METZ, Ty Segall, and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and garnering the attention of publications like Pitchfork, and NME, the band is no stranger to the musical landscape. Yet, with all that momentum and experience backing them, they held out on releasing an LP. That is until they moved from London to the city we all hold dear to our hearts: Leeds.
Shortly after their move, they began to record Science Fiction, a record due out soon (Friday the 29th of May) which they describe as “part-concept [tying in] references and homages to Sci-Fi with the modern millennial difficulties all of us face as we move away from our youth. Some themes include always having your crew to count on in the face of any dire straits, how being contactable 24/7 probably isn't best for any of us and how really we're not any more different/ cooler/ better/ worse/ charming/ narcissistic than anyone else because we’re in a band.” A part of me wanted to hold out on writing about the band until the LP (mastered by Bob Weston of Shellac fame) was out, but hey I can do what I want and I want to talk about this single.
The second single from the LP, “A Song For Councillor” begins sparsely with a determined drumbeat chugging along by itself just ready for musical company. Lucky for the drummer, it isn’t long before the rest of the band kicks in and the vocals of Charlie Wyatt come in, shouting a surprisingly astute verse about how the only times we really come together is after a tragedy, like at a funeral. His powerful vocals, combined with the backing vocals of what sounds like a bus full of feverish lads make it hard to describe the track as anything but anthemic. The wordless chorus only ups that energy as the chanting ba ba ba’s feel like they’re destined to be sung by every drunk punk at a pub trying to pass off as a proper venue.
Unlike most other pub punk songs, though, “A Song For Councillor” actually has a lot of welcome variety in it. Its middle 8 made me overlook my dislike of cheesy blues riffs as the two guitars trade licks back and forth in a really charming battle of solos that just works. A Motown bass line in the bridge gives way to an unexpectedly sludgy, yet still bright breakdown that just hits satisfyingly hard before returning back to the final chorus. And atop all the satisfying musical moments, sits what I am drawn to most in the song. While there aren’t many verses and the chorus are very much wordless, the lyrics that are there are just so charmingly clever yet simple that I can’t help but admire them. Lines like “A fitting tribute always fits just like a cheap suit” or “Pour on the dirt on his big old casket just like you did with the ice in his whiskey a fortnight ago” capture the feelings of a loved one’s funeral so well while also just being good, elegant uses of wordplay.
I feel like I should be more critical of this track, I am meant to be a critic and I haven’t really been anything but gushing lately but I just keep getting the opportunity to write about tracks and bands that get me excited and “A Song For Councillor” is no exception. It’s only a few days until the full LP comes out via Eeasy Records, at least at the time of me writing this, and I must say, it feels like Eeasy Records have scored themselves a golden goose in the form of Thee MVPs.
Writing by Varun Govil