By Jon Milton
The historic Georgian market town of Ampthill isn’t normally associated with emerging alternative music. The annual music event ‘Amprocks’ tends to feature crowd pleasing mainstream artists (this year’s headliner if it goes ahead is McFly) and there’s a number of decent cover bands that play at pubs and events. Bucking the trend however is Gaylips, punk pop noise terrorists who released their debut album ‘Fuck the plan, sell the man’ last year and released a new single ‘Generic Rock for the Mass’s’ this week.
Musically they sound like a cross between IDLES and Red Hot Chilli Peppers and they pack a hell of a punch.
The band’s name before you ask, comes from drummer Jonny's mum referring to vocalist/bass player Carl as having Gay lips ‘I mean, is there even such a thing?!’.
The two-piece formed after their previous band Betaboy split up. Carl says of their demise ‘While some of our songs were catchy, there was too much focus on following a format. Start a band, follow a format that if you do it right and ‘tick all the boxes’ one day you’ll be rewarded with a major record contract. Ha! It’s nonsense even more so in this day and age. With Betaboy, it was always a case of "you must look a certain way", "sound like whatever is hip at the time" (at that time it was synth pop), and "you must do this or that". Don't get me wrong, we did have some proper giggles in Betaboy - there were times when it was like Spinal Tap with a synth. And I think Betaboy are still the only band to be banned from Amprocks! (It involved brandy and The Lighting Seeds). We’ve gone our different ways because I was always a grunge kid at heart and the others were always acoustic singer songwriters. In the end, the cracks appeared and what happened, happened. Then, kapow: Gaylips’.
Fuck the plan, sell the man is a pretty uncompromising, in your face album, which Carl describes as ‘about a whole mix of things from our boredom with social media must do’s, to angst we’ve still got stored up from growing up in Flitwick. We wanted to make a concept album that didn’t stick to any rules. We’re sick to death of over-produced music with a million overdubs ‘because you need to do this to make it radio friendly’. We wanted to make an album that had an immediacy to it, an urgency, and so we recorded live with no more than three takes. A touch of studio magic by Faz from Damage Audio and boom it’s being played by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music’.
There are seven tracks on the album, which Carl walks us through below:
1. You Have To Lose To Win. This is one of the first songs we wrote. It’s a bit of a statement song - "only rock and roll can save your soul".
2. Kerfuffle. The Brexit song neither for or against just an observation of the chaos it caused. And we were stressed about Brexit?! What a walk in the park that all was compared to Covid-19.
3. Felt Tip Girl vs. Lion Boy. It’s about my kids. And their constant battles.
4. Ninjas Don't Cry. It’s ok for ninjas to have a cry.
5. The Hero Dies In This One. Haven’t got a clue what this one’s about, but it’s fun to play though!
6. Retail Park. Social media, modern life, do this do that, tell the world, yawn on, blah.
7. Girl On The Hill. Let’s not talk about this one - the girlfriend hates it.
The band were hoping to tour and release their second album in 2020 but, given the lockdown/pandemic their future plans are somewhat uncertain ‘At the present Covid-19 moment in time, we’re finding it hard to see if we’ll even be playing any more live shows this year (this is heart breaking for us). But, we are hoping we can get back into the studio late June/July time. We have a few singles lined up, and then another album – and due to recent events, it’s going to be an odd one’.
‘Generic Rock for the Mass’s’ is out now. You can hear it here. Click here to listen to ‘Fuck the plan, sell the man’