In Review: Thee MVPs - Science Fiction
“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.” So says Futurama’s binary signalling God-figure, so says the text adorning the cover of Thee MVPs new album Science Fiction. That the Leeds-based four piece are fans of Groening’s second most famous series is no surprise; it seamlessly slips a dose of pathos into its fun in much the same way as the band does. While their blend of garage rock, pub rock, punk and psychedelia sounds like it would be great to neck six beers to, have a dance and sing with the choruses even if (especially if?) you don’t really know the words, within those words are some serious musings on friendship, the passing of family members and the downsides of our society’s 24/7 technological connection.
I won’t belabour the comparison; I if I think too much about the episode where Fry’s dog waits outside the pizza joint for him I get all teary eyed. Suffice to say, though, that hopefully people will be sure that Thee MVPs have done something – because what they’ve done is create a glorious bloody racket. Produced by Shellac’s Bob Weston, it gleefully bounces around a fuzz-laden garage rock core whilst never stopping for long enough to touch on cliché. Case in point, just as you’ve gotten comfortable with the first three songs’ ballpark, then along comes ‘You Ain’t It’, a viciously spiky post-punk number channelling Wire’s Pink Flag in the best possible manner. This is followed by the spaced out jam ‘HAL’, which I won’t describe by reference to another band whose name sometimes begins with ‘Thee’ – that would do the band a disservice, as it is clear from this release that they are much more than mere acolytes of John Dwyer.
‘Super Contactable’ veers into straight up hard rock territory, ‘A Pining Replicant’ keeps a foot planted there whilst reaching out for a few straight-up pop hooks and ‘Funeral i and iii’ switches from boot-boy swagger to cosmonaut groove with fluid ease. Perhaps my only gripe would be the length of some of the jams, which draw out the length of some of the songs beyond their welcome and takes something away from the immediacy of the short, sharp garage template upon which the band’s sound is founded. Does that, then, make it hypocritical for me to laud the last song on the album ‘US Airways (Final Flight)’ as one of my favourites, coming in as it does at a chunky seven and a half minutes, most of which is straight up stoner rock jamming? Probably, but goddamn it sounds good.
These extended jams also sound like they would play out much better in a live environment; and hopefully, with the band’s relocation from London to Leeds, we’ll get to experience that environment (ideally at the Leeds institution that is the Brudenell Social Club, if that isn’t asking too much) before too long. In the meantime, get hold of Science Fiction and get at least some of the choruses imprinted on your subconscious, before too many beers has you ‘singing along’ to every word in the front row.
Science Fiction is released tomorrow (Friday 29th May) via EEASY RECORDS.