It is a curious thing about certain pop groups that, if you were a member of the exclusive club which followed them when they were à la mode, you can brook no criticism of them later in life. I think this is particularly true of bands that cultivate arty eccentricity. If, however, you didn’t belong to the cult, these same idols can seem shrill and contrived. Even with all the boxes ticked, some groups, I can’t think of any offhand, simply come up short. Oh, they may have flourished for a time, capturing the zeitgeist (or at least some subculture), perhaps feeding on the crumbs of greater talents. Maybe even there was even a genuine connection with the true believers, the ones at the gigs, the ones who followed the band around, who subscribed to (or wrote for) the fan club. If there’s a ringing choir still in thrall to their adolescent fanaticism and loudly championing them in grown-up rock magazines, the listener coming to these kinds of records late will find them particularly disappointing. Ultimately, apart from maybe a song or two, they just doesn’t translate beyond the faithful and, with the passing of a few years, their records are revealed as a hollow echo of themselves.
I’d be interested to know if Thrifty Vinyl readers can think of any examples of this phenomenon.