The Vichy Government at Electrocution
After feeling absolutely vile all day, nauseous from drinking absinthe at 2:30 am, we ambled over to Old Street to see Britain’s best art pop band, The Vichy Government. Going out hungover on a Sunday felt incongruous, but the atmosphere was idyllic, like something out of a Shakespeare pastoral, calm seas perhaps owing to yesterday’s full moon. For all this, I felt vulnerable as the Vichys began, which is surely the best mind-set to view them with, when almost every word ruffles the taffetta-lining of your jerkin.
Their demo album is varied, dynamic and interesting, but the new songs are sublime. ‘Rubbish’, apparently their future debut single, details the sadness inherent in the post-post, ironical generation, endlessly recycling rubbish. “Generation wank yourself to sleep”, indeed. ‘Oliver Cromwell In Weimar Berlin’ takes the specifically Belfarce protestant revulsion of ‘Protestant Work Ethic 2’ and ‘Orange Disorder’, and universalises it by re-imagining the archetypal warring puritan being simultaneously entranced and revolted by 20s decadence. Final song, ‘How To Become A Cult Figure’, is the best tune that Andrew Chilton has composed allied to Jamie Manners’ wittiest and most coherent lyrics. Brimming over with confidence, taking on all-comers, The Vichy Government are, ahem, hot.
Whether the world will agree was briefly a topic of conversation. The hoxtonites in the audience seemed slightly bemused, and it is unlikely that the Vichys would stand for being a band enjoyed ironically. My bet is that they will create their audience rather than inheriting a pre-established tribe. I can see hundreds of post-Vichy bands imitating their heroes, as happened with Oasis, inventing a genre of their own.
As you may know, the path by which I arrived at this opinion of the band has been long and surprising, but now that fragments of their weltanschauung inhabit my headspace, I must confess to feeling privileged indeed.