British Guitar Bands Never Died

by Tom Elliott

Have you ever heard the myth that guitar bands are dead? They just don’t write straight-up anthems like they used to. There are too many other influences these days. Electronic music has taken over. You know what? Guitar bands are just plain boring. Why? Because everything has been done.

As over 200,000 people are currently at Glastonbury waiting for those ‘boring’ acts to turn their amps up to eleven, I think now is the perfect time to respond to the hearsay that British bands quite simply aren’t as good as they used to be. The best way to respond? The music.

I’ll be the first to admit that times have changed. Boisterous lead singers who’d rather neck a bottle of Jameson’s than chat to an interviewer about their intricate melodies are becoming rarer and rarer. Alex Turner and Matt Bellamy are from different sides of the coin to Liam Gallagher and Mick Jagger. Then again, the music has also changed. Arctic Monkeys and Muse are both different kinds of bands to Oasis and the Rolling Stones.

If you don’t turn the radio down every time you hear a distorted guitar, there’s probably a good chance you’re familiar with the current heavyweights of the genre - Arctic Monkeys, Biffy Clyro and Muse to name a few. These are today’s headliners. They’re great bands. They’ve made their own mark on the history of music. But Biffy Clyro and Muse have been around for over a decade. Alex Turner & Co are gearing up to release their fifth album.

Who are the future festival headliners? Who’s going to pick up a banged up guitar from their garage and write songs that will inspire thousands of people to simultaneously raise their pint of lager to the skies? There are plenty of candidates. Each have their own distinct sound. I’ve listed my personal favourites below.

True, these bands may not dominate the singles chart. These days the number one spot is reserved for a dance beat that you’ll probably be sick of after three visits to the Lemmy. Fear not though, you don’t have to lock yourself in your room listening to Oasis’ Definitely Maybe on repeat (as fun as that can be it does get a little bit repetitive).

There’s hope out there yet. My Reading/Leeds headliners for 2017? Two Door Cinema Club? The Maccabees and Twin Atlantic.

The Maccabees Three albums in, many of their fanbase would argue that The Maccabees are the heirs to the throne. Their last album, Given to the Wild, was a significant step forward for British music. It sounds fresh on every listen and answers any critic who says that guitar bands aren’t original anymore.

Tribes Four guys from Camden who decided there just weren’t enough traditional rock n’ roll choruses on the radio set out to write an album of festival tunes. 2009’s Baby introduced us to a band with promise. This year’s Wish to Scream cemented their place in Britain’s most exciting new bands.

Twin Atlantic Already favoured by many Radio 1 DJ’s, Twin Atlantic look set to follow in the footsteps of Scottish counterparts Biffy Clyro. Few bands can match the energy, choruses or infectious melodies that these Glasgow rockers pump out in every song. 2011’s Free is a modern classic. That was only their debut. Expect big things.

Bombay Bicycle Club A more delicate, experimental breed of band. Bombay Bicycle Club are one of the most versatile acts on the circuit. They’ve released three different albums that are polar opposites to each other. What ties them all together? Addictive vocal melodies riffs, and bass lines that are difficult to forget.

Two Door Cinema Club Fast drum beats, emotive lyrics and the catchiest guitar riffs around. Two Door Cinema Club are a band that have the world at their feet. It’s rare that an indie record appeals to all kinds of people/tastes.