In the not-too-distant past there seemed to be some kind of mythical conveyor belt churning out an endless array of brash and anthemic guitar bands into the upper echelons of the top 40 and into the forefront of public consciousness.
Bands were just as likely to hit the front covers of the red tops as they were the music press and, in effect, it was Britpop Part II. But since then, things have quietened down and become a little more introspective. A bit of folkiness here, a smidgen of experimental electronica over there, and a lot of navel-gazing all round. Indie label autonomy and a return to Postcard or C86-era values are the order of the day, albeit modernised for the digital age.
So coming up now to give the country a collective slap in the face and the scene the proverbial kick up the arse is East London five-piece Dexters.
All scuzz, fuzz and intimidation a la The Vaccines and The Enemy: a visceral and aggressive ride along indie pop’s Anthems Avenue. For some time now, they’ve been packing out esteemed London venues such as Koko and The Lexington, and have racked up a pretty decent list of high-profile support slots along the way and are releasing their first debut single ‘Recover’ on 19th November.
In-keeping with the DIY aesthetics of punk and dispensing of any separation between the audience and the band, they’ll be giving the song away to fans of their Facebook page free of charge. And the song itself? A snarling riot of pint-sized pop-punkiness. Listening to the track, the fact that Dexters hail from the nation’s capital is actually something of a surprise. Their confidence, attitude and dare-it-be-said… ‘laddishness’, could wrongly convince many that their origins lie somewhere far more northerly of the Watford Gap. However, this may be partly due to one of their stated main influences, seminal scouse shanty maestros The La’s.
Not that Dexters are mere copyists – nobody could say they sound quite like anything from Lee Mavers’ masterly canon. Rather, they amalgamate their influences to create the ‘Dexters Sound’. Frontman Tom Rowlett adds the punk and aggression of The Clash and the outlaw garage of Black Lips to form the triumvirate that shapes the music that Dexters make. ‘Recover’ mixes the three together, ups the adrenaline and aims to get to the chorus, and get there as quickly as possible.
There are no boundaries being broken down here, no exploratory roads being discovered, nor any rulebooks being rewritten. It’s the sound of five lads, armed with guitars and drums, with distortion and melodies, with crates of beer and packets of fags, getting together, turning the amps up, making a racket and having a bloody good time.
Whilst this type of music can often split opinions polemically, Dexters’ exuberance of youth shines through demanding to be admired and, in some quarters, will possibly be envied. If Dexters’ music continues to feature this lung-busting intensity, there’ll be no time for recovery; but rather there will be enough momentum to propel them out from under the radar, into the greater public’s consciousness.
The red tops await.