Seeing how Festival season is in full swing, I thought I’d give a little attention to five lads who fit right in with the spirit of a music festival. Cheeky, energetic and of course Indie, the sound of Midlands Summer that’s a hit around the country never mind Burton, Get Cubs.
Joshua Jameson (lead vocals), Christian Taylor (Guitar), Andy Howard (bass, keyboards) and Daryl Hollier (drums) formed their first band Arts&Crafts in January 2009 and looked to create a fun slice of Indie rock that looked to emulate the likes of Bloc Party and The Wombats but throw in a bit of synth into the mix as well. It took them a while to start performing live but once they had their first gig in June 2009 (you start in Summer, you’re gonna earn that stigma!), it got the ball rolling and by 2011, they had earned a record deal at , played at Birmingham’s O2 academy and had been on the bill of Leeds Festival and Europe’s largest unticketed festival at the time, FreeFest.
However, after the completion of their first album To the Mountains, high school friend and guitarist Dan Gallagher was invited by Daryl to come and jam with the band after returning to Burton from Uni. After having a lot of fun and seeing how well he worked off of his friend’s music, he was added to the band and thus, Get Cubs was got!
With the addition of Gallagher and the release of Mountains in 2012, Get Cubs managed to build on their already impressive following by gaining national radio play on Radio 1 when lead single Delilah (Why, why, why? Cos it’s fun so nyer!) was named song of the week during Christmas time, featured twice on Huw Stephens’ podcast and was part of the Official Radio 1 live playlist for a week in February 2013!
With this airplay and already built nationwide reputation on their side, the Cubs decided to set out on a month-long tour promoting their new EP Canada. But instead of actually going to Canada (maybe since they didn’t want everyone to make a crappy Inception joke!), they started from The Finsbury in London to the Music Box in Brighton having travelled to cities like Derby, Bristol, Manchester and Gillingham. The week after this tour had ended, they celebrated their success with a headline spot at Burton’s Tower Brewery on May 18th with acts that will no doubt be covered here in the future such as The Vibe and Black Wolf Catch. From here, they continue to perform all through their favourite season at Festivals like Cockrock and Strawberry Fields (Must remember for an album name!)
But taking all the achievements, publicity and overall fun that these guys have had, how does their music hold up to your humble narrator? Pretty well actually!
In a genre such as Indie, there is a danger of conforming to trends and sounding very much alike (ask Beardyman!) a bit like alternative did in the 90s (How ironic that ‘alternative’ music came to all sound exactly the same!). While Get Cubs don’t necessarily break new ground in terms of the genre, they certainly have an infectious sincerity about them that you just can’t help but love especially since an air of hipster disingenuousness can seep into the genre every so often.
A lot of their songs do have a theme of love and relationships with songs named after girls like Delilah, Lucy and Amelia (add those to the list Stewie and Brian)…
…but each song has a catchy and enjoyable flavour to them backed up by a great mix of guitars and synths which matches their sunny disposition. Plastic Parade is a particular highlight from Mountains thanks to its great acoustic riff at the start, mixture of pounding drums and clinking tambourine, a magical synth riff in the chorus which almost sounds like you’re being transported to another dimension if you listen to it closely and well-sung lyrics which deal with the subject matter of trying to fit in with people you can see are fake but being pressured into making a pass at that one fit girl by your mates, we’ve all been there of course (“Your friends think you should stay, try your luck…your feet are stuck to the floor, you’re not dancing anymore in this Plastic Parade.”). This is accompanied by a silly and cheap as all hell music video (and I mean that in the best way possible) that displays the band’s carefree attitude for the world to see!
Another song of note is the title track from their EP Canada (Canada on Canada…Dammit I said no Inception jokes!). This is probably one of the most complex songs they’ve made so far. Starting off with a guitar that almost sounds like a pipe organ (what is the pedal that can do that and where can I get one?) and a slow drum build-up backed by a horn section which was also featured in the first track on the first track of the EP Heartstrings, then exploding with a Franz Ferdinand-like rhythm a minute and a half in before a frantic finish with Jameson’s now screamed vocals and forceful guitar harmonies. It’s not a track to be taken lightly and really shows a raw energy behind the cheeky chappie image of the band!
If I’m being brutally honest here, I didn’t get the appeal of these guys at first. I knew them from school sure, but I didn’t really latch onto them straight away and just heard them as another Indie band in the local scene. But after hearing Plastic Parade on the compilation album Never Mind the Burtfest, Save the Whistle! and seeing them live a couple more times, I started to appreciate their musicianship, charisma and overall likeability to a point where they’re one of the first bands to be featured on my blog (you can take that as a compliment or an insult, either way though, you’re getting noticed!)
If the weather’s nice…OK that’s pushing it a bit in this country! Hell even if the weather’s shit, you can still find a lot of enjoyment in Get Cubs as a band for the Summer. Bright, cheerful, energetic and all of what I’ve repeated from the start ad nauseam! If you can’t catch them at a festival, see them live at a regular pub/club venue as the same good lads will be there, just without the mud and creeping corporate influence. This has been Brew Town Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.
Lion’s share of the Cubs’ stuff
Canada EP Soundcloud (NEW!): https://soundcloud.com/getcubs/sets/canada-ep
To The Mountains Soundcloud (old): https://soundcloud.com/getcubs/sets/to-the-mountains
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