Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Forbidden Notes

The title, you will agree, is somewhat appropriate, given that the previous post featured so much censorship-related angst. It might also refer to the bassline used in the making of Blur's faux-cockney masterpiece Parklife. Said bassline "uses an interval of an augmented fifth – in which the standard interval of a fifth is increased by one semitone", according to the Select article reproduced here. These intervals were apparently banned by the Catholic church in the Middle Ages because of their demonic sound, and were known as the Devil's Interval. Should you require evidence of this satanic bassline, a wmv excerpt, courtesy of Amazon, is here.

But we're not here to talk about mockneys, even when we suffer from sitting opposite one every working day.

No, we're here to talk about The Black Keys, which were forbidden notes for much of the history of the keyboard, insofar as they did not exist. So, were it not for the procreative activities of two couples in Akron, Ohio (the parents), on the one hand, and the need to accomodate sharp and flat notes alongside naturals on a single keyboard, we would not only have NO meaning for "The Black Keys", but also no means of padding this post by three paragraphs.

Because the plain fact is, Gringcorp's Holiday From Guitars was not a storming success, and we had thrown ourselves into the tender embrace of Rubber Factory. We don't know whether Blur's use of discordant noises would have disposed them towards liking the Keys, since Blur were not the greatest fans of this great nation of the United States.

But we'll make the connection in a roundabout way. Because we do have a point, and it is that too much has been written about the Keys' similarities to the White Stripes. If you worry about the future musical direction of the Black Keys, think more about the career trajectory that Gomez has experienced. See, Gomez confused an early enthusiasm for their bouncy tunes as respect for their musicianship, and we fear that The Black Keys might be moving on the same track. We probably didn't think too hard before our earlier note on the Keys' gig down at the Harbour, but it is now clear that there is a good possibility that they could turn into a Jam band.

At the moment, the sound is too jaunty, and the number of players is stuck at two. While the Keys are still trying to make much larger music thhan their numbers allow, the effect is very striking, the musical equivalent of the the skeleton armies from Clash Of The Titans. But they do like an excursion, and we fear a String cheese Incident any moment.

By the same token, we liked most of Bring It On, Gomez' first, particularly 78 Stone Wobble. But, one Glastonbury, soaked to the bone, we had to sit through an extended jam version of Tijuana Lady, when alll we wanted was something to cheer us the hell up. And that was it. Deciding to call a song Sweet Virginia probably won't help them plead their case in front of a Gringcorp Rock Court, either.

The other main link between Gomez and the Black Keys are the disconcerting growly voices sported by the two lead singers. And the link between Gomez and Blur? Bloody students that decided to form a band.


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