Some weeks ago, I asked your knowledgeable opinion about who should be considered the best British indie artist/band at the moment. The result showed that you, dear readers, privilege proved talent to instant fame : with 21% of the suffrage, PJ Harvey is ordered the ultimate prize.
This result is, for sure, the consequence of the long, prolific and impeccable carrier led by 42 year-old Polly Jean Harvey. Musician, singer-songwriter and composer, she embodies the multi-talented artist par excellence. After being member of Automatic Dlamini and working with John Parish for many years, she settled for a solo carrier in the mid-nineties and has been enormously successful since. With six albums, she has explored and experimented throughout the blurred territory that is indie rock, guiding us with her dreamy voice.
Her last album, Let England Shake, was awarded Album of the Year at the 2011 Mercury Prize Awards, ten years after she received the same reward for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Besides, Let England Shake was massively celebrated among critics as well as the public, something that increasingly occurs as an exception. It is the proof that indie music is more than a bunch of often blasé and self-centered bands featuring for Urban Outfitters. Some brilliant artists remain and hold high its promises.
Second in the poll were The Vaccines (17%), who have been a constant indie sensation since the release of their breakthrough single Wreckin Bar (Ra ra ra) in late 2010, only a few months after their formation. Rarely has such fuss been made so rapidly about a new band, the NME calling them “the worst-kept secret in London indie scene”. Their debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines was released a year ago on Columbia Records and ranked 4 in the UK charts. NME celebrated it as proof of “the return of the great British rock band”, a genre slowly disappearing as pop and electronic music run the music market. It is true, though, that their sixties touch with short, punchy songs, garage guitars and heartbreaking lyrics is refreshing and irresistible.
Manchester’s WU LYF came in third, with 13% of votes. Much have also been said about the unusual quintet, the music side of a collective called World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation. It advocates a fairer share of wealth and a binding solidarity in society, calling dollar the enemy. WU LYF’s aim is to prove there is an alternative to mainstream labels. Their brilliant debut album, Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, was auto-produced thanks to the donations of the collective’s members. Influenced by math-rock bands such as Foals, WU LYF is impressive in its euphoric songs like We Bros and the permanent howling performed by leader Ellery Roberts.
The fourth place has to be shared between Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees, each receiving 8% of the votes. They share the particularity of having started recording music at a very early age, and thus each has already released three amazing albums, through which we can hear them grow and refine their own style.
The results of this poll show, in my opinion, that indie music is still full of promises with young, hard-working bands and can also rely on confirmed talents. Great times are ahead.
Photo : PJ Harvey official website