Sometime over the summer a PR girl by the name of Sally e-mailed me, purporting to the fact she’d just taken on the ‘the best band in the world’. In my fortunate position of music blogger-scrote I get told this a lot. This being the case I took it with a pinch of the table’s finest, despite her being a good egg whose opinion I generally trusted.
My first thought halfway through my first listen to MT was: “bless Sally's eyes, this might actually be the best band in the world.” I e-mailed her immediately with this observation, and we both whooped and hollered across the internet airwaves- her because she knew I’d write nice things about them in the future. Me, well, me because I just wanted someone to whoop and holler with.
Unfortunately, when I came back to her a month or two later she wasn’t repping them anymore, and much less keen to trump up their future planet-straddling status. I didn’t hear anything more about MT and just assumed they had fallen into London’s big band landfill, until I heard ‘Alpha Romeo’.
You can guess what I thought next.
It’s a poppier beast than the song from before (‘Heaven’). Think Elton John, Springsteen, Arcade Fire. It’s like Mika’s cooler older brother finally had enough of his sibling showing him up by getting up to sing ‘off the cuff’ at weddings, and decided he wanted to get slaps on the back and thank yous and surreptitious blowjobs behind the chocolate fountain from weepy Joan the widow.
The recipient of said mouth candy would be MT frontman Australian Michael Tomlinson, who croons central couplet “Romeo used to be my call sign/Call me up for a good time” roughly 68 times. Like all the best chest-beaty tunes it’s the tale of putting on a front, of not being the man you want to be, of ‘two hearts breaking at the same time’. Classic themes to the fore: all it’s really lacking is a spoken word monologue about a difficult father-son relationship.
The London-based band have cited LCD Soundsystem as a favourite of theirs, and that shines through on the staccato guitar of the oft-repeated choral refrain. James Murphy’s much-loved gang are an obvious influence on older tracks, ‘Everything Here I Need’ and ‘Paranoid People Meet In The Middle’, with the former’s lazy lazer synths and nonchalant vocals. Production-wise, these much older tunes are some way behind ‘Alpha Romeo’ and ‘Heaven’ and it will be interesting to see which direction they persevere with on any future album.
On the one hand MT (standing for ‘many things’ apparently) appear to be a balls to the wall pop band-on 'Heaven' they’re not all that dissimilar to Noah And The Whale. On the other, they clearly have an affection for keys and relatively-quiet introspection. Whether they aspire to combine the two or set controls for the eyes of the sun is a decision for them and their producers. Either way, if they end up being the biggest band in the world, don’t forget who told you first- Sally. (Not her real name.)