Loksmith – Breathe
Genre: Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock
Cool cats are all the rage when it comes to selling music posters. They look good and make audiences want to emulate them. That’s only natural. But, for the most part, it is the geeky, shy and uncool folks who create the songs that everyone hums along with. The biographies don’t lie. The folks who worked hard and are deeply motivated are usually the ones who create the stadium anthems. Meanwhile, your Johnny Thunders-like characters end up being heroes to a tiny minority.
The fact is also that, for the most part, the songs that end up becoming stadium anthems do not contain any great truths. But how could they? These are songs designed to be chanted along by thousands of people, ideally. This is music meant to remind people of all of the ways in which they are similar and forget about their myriad of differences.
Loksmith’s “Breathe” is anthemic, operatic pop in the vein of Muse or 1980s Queen. It is well-designed, and you’d have to struggle to avoid imagining crowds of people chanting this in unison at a sporting event. It is true that merely scratches the surface when it comes to actual emotion and that modern production affects its chances of immortality. But it is very well-designed and created without the burden of desiring to prove that it is made by cool cats.
Desmerelda – Never Tickle a Tiger
Genre: Alternative Rock
There was a time, not so long ago, when someone carrying a guitar case down the street would be chased by kids shouting loudly: “Look at the cool guy/girl?” The guitar was an accessory that immediately brought you into the realm of Cooldom.
Now, kids look at someone dragging a guitar case and assume he/she must have a drinking problem and an obsession with posting angry comments on various internet forums. And they’re usually right.
Rock n’ roll people are grumpy and, usually, unloved. The generations of similar-minded musicians before them spent all of the goodwill they had writing songs about girls and cars, a veritable soundtrack for the life story of American politicians and their next of kin.
But angry people can also make great music when they are pushed up against a wall. Desmerelda’s “Never Tickle a Tiger” features large, desert-rock guitar riffs and barked observations about the world. It’s music for people who don’t fit in but, for the time being, maintain some humour about it. It’s not the music that will get them smiles and winks on the public transport, but definitely enough to keep those pesky kids away.