Saturday, December 08, 2007

What did ever happen to Britpop?

Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again reviews the new Britpop collection The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit-Pop Gems of the Last Millennium (Rhino) on As with Rip It Up, there is some trenchant analysis of the curious phenomenon of Anglo rock following the second "British Invasion" of the early 80's, but also some gaping holes. Reynolds rips Brit acts for neglecting R&B based rhythms, but seems to overlook the Bristol-based Trip Hop scene- acts like Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack and bands like The Sneaker Pimps that followed in their wake. I agree with Reynolds' dim view of the endless parade of insta-bands the UK pop scene burdened us with in the period between Duran Duran and Oasis, but to me the action out of Britain was in more esoteric acts- Trip Hop, Acid bands like The Orb, ethnic experimentalists like Jah Wobble and Dead Can Dance, and the London avant-classical scene which included locals like John Taverner and imports like The Balanescu Quartet. To my ears, that was the music that seemed to be the logical inheritors of the post-punk scene Reynolds immortalized in his book.

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