Saturday, 3 March 2007

Aunties' Troopers

London based four-piece, The Be Be See are comprised of singer, lyricist and ideologue Kkevin 'BSB' Retoryka, bassist Philip 'ATV' Collins, keyboardist Beth 'CNN' Randow, and drummer Ross 'History Channel' Gidney. They have followed one of the great mythological journeys of Rock & Roll, getting signed up to a major by their third gig, without being strong-armed into compromise. Doubtless, EMI and its’ subsidiary At Large must have considered this confrontational entity that calls itself Auntie, detourning her very nature with post-modern Situationist irony, delivering what the band term “motorik shoegaze glam pop”, quite an intimidating prospect. Through an email interview, frontman Retoryka says that “We wanted to fukk around with something truly iconic and taken for granted. The BBC occupies a very unusual place in the psyche of the UK, the fact that a lot of people, rightly or wrongly, actually trust it. We never ever hear any opinions of ours or those of our friends on the BBC and we wanted to create an alternative one where we did. More than that, it was the most completely reckless name for a band that actually wanted to make records and reach people we could think of - It could get no exposure whatsoever or it could get loads, but it was the one that looked like it had the potential to cause the most trouble, and we just thought that would be the most fun.” It seems, almost unbelievably, that a major has well and truly stuck its’ neck out somewhere even your Bill Drummonds would have hesitated at. Burning a million is nothing compared to the razing of a national treasure.

An ambition to “be on the National Lottery this time next year” is not the usual ethos of any so called self-respecting band, but that’s what The Be Be See are here to do to you, to reduce your pop pretensions to rubble and glory in the potential of the great mass communicator and harness her powers for their own ends. Subversive? Kkevin flatly counters that admitting “it would totally blow my chances of getting away with taking the piss out of the media - if that was what I wanted to do.” Ask about his ambitions for the band and the answer is simple: “We just want to be the most important pop group of the next 15 years. Lyrically, musically - you name it” and he is acutely aware that the key to the nation’s heart is acknowledging that “People know what they like - Songs for the pub and club and the bedroom. That is what it is all about for me.”

His position on this populist approach to music, rescuing it from its’ mire of conglomerate sterility, assuaging Pop’s bad rep as lowest common denominator art form, revitalizing it (or transforming it, if you have to make a choice within yourself to protect your own indie sensibilities from offence) is one that has the ability to speak to all people everywhere equally. Listening to the two tracks on their debut single is an emotionally galvanizing experience. You K Gold on first listen appears as the classic yearning love song, striking lusty chords at sexy angles, but peeling back the layers on subsequent listens reveals themes picking at the tenets of government surveillance, Cold-War style paranoia and manipulation of civil liberties. The throbbing metallic pulse of Daily Mail taunting Discover E, hits me with the impression that theirs is a record extending from the lineage of dystopian story-telling British bands like The Auteurs, Earl Brutus, Pulp and Black Box Recorder: “We do like those groups but wouldn't ever claim to be part of any lineage. I used to be very into dystopian futurist stuff but nowadays I feel like you can't give up on the future” says Kkevin. “You've got to fight for it - it's important to do what you can to reclaim your world from the idiots who would destroy everything. It's a very natural response to looking around the world.”

Despite the sugary coating, dark and deliberate mechanics grind under the shiny bonnet and clean Saville-esque designs of their artwork. Intriguingly, Kkevin says “We actually spent more time interviewing actors at the start of the group than musicians. Can't say what for yet - it's a surprise.” It would be an unusual statement from your usual factory line band of “mockney public school poets in trilby hats”, but from The Be, Be, See, such promises of art-performance make sense and more. After all, great pop is an art-form and performance and visual elements are the medium through which it is ultimately delivered – Andy Warhol warned us and MTV saw to it, unequivocally. Striking an important chord that should resonate through everyone, even the darkest doom sergeants, noisemongerers and BM kvultists, Kkevin states “This was the whole thing about Peel's death - if everyone listened and loved his show so much then how come all the music he played didn't sell more? I just love pop music - I grew up taking more notice of music on TV and in the weeklies than anything John Peel did or played. I wasn't a sussed kid at all. There is something brilliant about performers getting exposure, almost by accident, when they are not slick or calculated and have just written an eccentric and catchy pop song that people love”

An honest, undeniable, universal truth. As much so as good old Auntie herself.

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