Are The Jacques Reviving Indie's Golden Age?

They might not have been in double figures when Is This It dropped, but four boys from Bristol are harking back to glory days that started in '01...
Publish date:
Updated on


Sometime around The Paddingtons and The Pigeon Detectives indie whimpered and keeled over like a knackered old dog. Kids stopped dressing like Pete Doherty and started listening to Skrillex. Grime, urban and dance music came to the fore as the revival kickstarted by The Strokes and The Libertines died in a pool of its own, Red Stripe-strewn piss. It was a good thing.  We were all sick of those fucking scarves.

Despite this, letting go was never easy for those of age '01 through '07. Forgetting the decent days and nights handed out by messrs Hammond, Barat, Okereke Turner, Smith, Jarman (s), Kapranos and, yes, Borrell, was to cast aside memories of a time that genuinely felt golden.

Therefore it seemed that a revival for a particularly English brand of rock and roll was never too far away, despite the oft-peddled cliche about there being no decent rock music about.

From a personal point of view, it just seemed that the most popular qoute/unqoute indie artists of recent times have been from across the way, dealing more explicitly in melancholia (see Bon Iver/The National). Or they were British demi-legends (PJ Harvey/Noel Gallagher), or groove-indebted acts with indie sensibilities (Foals/Everything Everything).

Then in 2014, The Libertines announced some reunion gigs, to predictable howls of derision from the Vice brigade. I couldn't go but people I knew did, and though there was undoubtedly a fairly large C bomb contingent in attendance, by all accounts the shows were a triumph. Also, this year Maximo Park have released a great album, following on the heels of 2013's all-conquering AM and 'future neo-pop classic' Johnny Borrell. Jamie T- always positioned just to the left of the drainpipe crew but nevertheless associated- also got to number one with Carry On The Grudge.

From Ludacris To The Stokes: Six Songs That Remind Of Being 17
Bloc Party's Five Best Album Tracks

But what we needed was a new band: a band that were kids when they heard 'Bigger Boys And Stolen Sweethearts' for the first time.

Enter The Jacques.

Not much is known about the four boys in the band. They've just released their debut Pretty DJ E.P. They are two sets of brothers from Bristol and all chip somewhere between 17 and 21. By my estimation this makes them all between the ages of 4 and 7 when Is This It dropped: maybe they had some older brothers and sisters doing the business with playlists.

Their press release has got some kind words from Huey Morgan, and it's easy to see why he digs them. This is dancing music. Not in the raving, four to the floor sense, but in that foot-stamping, way familiar to anyone that's ever got their trainers scuffed at Islington Academy, The Shipping Forecast, King Tut's or Club Ifor Bach. Remember what it was like the first time you heard 'You. Me. Dancing!?  A bit like that.

Los Campesinos! are not an arbitary example. There's a lot of their Gareth David in Jacques' lead singer Fin's almost androgynous drawl. In his intonation on 'Weekends' you'll also pick up Superstar Tradesman-era The View. However, the band they will get compared until McGee comes home is The Libertines. It's there in the ragbag, duelling guitars; in the Barat-esque solos; in the title of 'Scum In A Bottle'. With this in mind, it might not come as a surprise that the Pretty DJ E.P is out on 25 Hour Convenience Store; the label owned by Libertines stickman, Gary Powell. The story goes that Gary spotted them playing somewhere way down the bill at the Libs shows in Hyde Park in the summer, and was so taken with them he signed them up.

Apparently summer 2015 will see their album drop, though they are out playing shows before that. Ultimately they will want to prove themselves as something other than a (pretty glorious) nostalgia trip, and time will tell if they can deliver on the promise of this first E.P. But for now it's a fine thing to see the old indie mutt dragging itself back into the sun.
Pretty DJ is out now on 25 Hour Convenience Store.  You can get them on Twitter right here