I got to see the band in all its glory before hearing this recently recorded E.P: I’m not sure if that is the equivalent of seeing the film before reading the book or the other way around. Still, in the musical world I don’t think it matters quite so much and probably doesn’t lead to the equivalent of American Literature students stalking Baz Luhrmann with sawn-off blog sites for what he did to The Great Gatsby.
What I will say though is that having seen the band live I was intrigued to see just how they were going to capture the live energy they employ whilst on stage. In fact I’m still not sure how they did it, but it is there hardwired into the digital information of the CD, the snotty attitude, the CBGB’s punk/new wave swagger, 90’s college rock alternative vibe as well as their own home grown musical DNA.
Yes, it’s punk, well a sort of indie-punk, closer to the fun, cleaner-limbed and sleeker lined early days before the fickle hand of fashion took over and there is more than a touch of The Slits at work here, especially around the vocals of Cupcake Diaz (assuming function follows form and the titular Diaz is the bass-wielding, hair bunched rock chick at the front of the band…I may be wrong as it isn’t properly explained.) And if still using the term punk is a bit retrospective, I prefer to think of them as ahead of the next curve in the repetitive cycle of musical possibility, and that what ever its similarities to classic references from the past, we need to find a new generic name for bands forging through such pastures.
But for all the references of yore (or mine for that matter) it is all about making music for all the right reasons. It is fun and forceful, it is pop aware without going for the obvious commercial short cuts, it is in your face without reeking of testosterone and it is melodic but in a punchy, staccato and non-conformist sort of way.
I would love to be able to call it pop-punk, as that really is the two main components at work here, one subverting the form whilst the other tries to keep it more palatable, but that label has been stolen by American bores in long shorts trying to pretend they are wacky college loser subversives as they sign the paperwork on their next Beverly Hills mansion. I guess the bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter what we call what ever it is that Cupcake Diaz and the Felt Tip Pens do, just as long as they keep on doing it.