Puzzle Punk Heroes

Notorious for their raucous live performances including ‘Walls Of Cuddles’ and the ‘Tunnel Of Love’ (the former not half as cute as it sounds, the latter liable to see you married if you’re not careful) – the band are sure to ruffle some Texan feathers.

But perhaps SXSW is safe. “We don’t really have anything special planned at the moment. We’re still actually confirming some shows. But I’m sure nearer the time we’ll do something,” says drummer/vocalist John Baillie Jr admits, with a tone of voice the equivalent of a mischievous twinkle in the eye, and the ‘something’ in vocal italics.

At the festival, they will be showcasing their debut full-length album, ‘Hey Everyone!’, which was recorded in New York by acclaimed US rock producer Machine. “Our label boss has got a good working relationship with him, and he’d just finished working on the Johnny Foreigner record, which is amazing. He is a big metal guy – we thought it would be interesting.” That’s one word for it – the album seems to have created an entirely new genre of post hardcore-screamo-indie-pop. Yes, seriously.

The band are currently supporting Kaiser Chiefs around Europe, and John says: “It’s been a challenge. Some people are pleasantly surprised and some people are horrified.” It’s probably a dichotomy they will have to get used to – they are a band you’re going to either love or hate. Their self-branded fight pop is an uncompromising aural assault, from the opening brash title track that lynches your ears. As John comments: “That was the whole idea with the album, right from the first track – no filter, just bang!”

It certainly works on that level, but there is also humour. The emphasis is on fun with this band, as indicated by their much maligned and talked about moniker. “We don’t take ourselves seriously,” says John. “I’m a firm believer that a name is nothing. Once you’re into a band, you’re into them; you don’t even notice, you don’t even think about it any more. It’s just a label. We may have taken it too far – I don’t think we expected to still be around this long. We started off really well with the Moshi Moshi singles album, but then we just seemed to be plagued by problems – line-up changes, labels going bust. We’re lucky we still have people out there wanting to listen to us,” he pauses and laughs. “I would like to stress, of course, that none of that was our fault.”

Of course not! Excitedly, he concludes: “We’re really looking forward to SXSW. We’re told it’s like Disneyland but, you know, for musicians. Not actually with rides and stuff. Although that would be good…”

SXSW take cover and note – Dananananakroyd are coming and they want rollercoasters. Big, noisy ones, probably.

Words by : Claire Gilligan

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