Handbags at Dawn - by Miss Fliss
Handbags at Dawn's music conjoures up images of Friday nights in real rough pubs chock full of beery, tattooed, dart-throwing, glass-chucking Chav thugs. Except, like all bands of worth, Handbags contradict everything they write about. Because HAD are terrifically lovely, sweet people. Those filthy specimens that rear their heads in their songs are merely parodies and caricatures, reinforced by the fact that those kind of people would probably miss HAD's humour and irony entirely.
Handbags at Dawn lean to the more traditional bloke's notion of romance. If only Ronan Keating could muster the gall to sing loudly and proudly lyrics such as: 'Hey John / I want a word / I've been meaning to tell you / I've been knobbing your bird' or 'It was that time of the month / my friend / when the gentleman bowls from the pavilion end / I ain't never seen such a hairy box / she could tuck her trousers into her socks'. Crude metaphors abound aside, HAD have some corking tunes. (S)punky, jerky indie-rock gives way to stellar hands-in-the-air REM-esque choruses of absolute magnitude.
Singer Shane sounds like a rabid, sweary, who-spilt-my-fucking-pint amalgamation of Shane McGowan and Jim McDonald from Coronation Street of yore, when it's last orders at the pub. There's an element of Mitchell brothers character emulation at work on songs like 'Opinionated Blue Collar Outlook' where Shane spits the threa: 'Fuck with me / I'll rip your head off / and shit inside your fucking neck'. Somehow it can be perceived as comedy and sung along to sweetly.
HAD's original spark is in the verbage of their delivery more than their music - but that's not to put a blight on their musical effort which is invigorating, punchy, catchy stuff. It will also put a firm lasting grin on your chops, and that's something that is seriously (hoho) lacking in music of late.
'Sometimes I ask myself: what's it all about?'
Handbags at Dawn's bassist Tim Steele talks through his band.
Personnel: Schitzo Rennick (singing), Matt Lancashire (guitar), Timmaah Steele (bass and sex appeal), Matty van Rodenspaff (drums).
Location: I'm the only one actually from London. The others have drifted here from as far afield as Dundalk, Ireland (Shane); Darkin, Australia (Matty); and Hemel Hempstead (Matt). We all live in a big room in West London and cuddle up each night in a big quadruple-Handbag-sized bed.
Story to date: Shane moved to London a few years ago, and inflicted his unique brand of profane Irish beat-poetry onto many unsuspecting open-mic nights around the capital. It was just him and an acoustic guitar to start with, but he was keen to get a band together. Myself and Matt had been in bands together for a while, and when Shane gave us some of his demos we decided it would be worth seeing if we clicked. Matty answered a Drummer Wanted ad in a gay lifestyle magazine, and we all met up in a Soho pub.
Describe your music: After clumsily bandy-ing around terms like 'folk-punk', 'punk-folk', and 'anti-folk', I've given up trying to genre-fy our music. Shane refers to it as 'Gonzo music', which is a reference to Hunter S. Thompson's style of writing - 'Gonzo journalism'. Some people say it's just straightforward punk rock, which is cool.
Influences: Pixies are a big one, also Pogues, Clash, Sex Pistols. Those are the main ones. For the rest, Blur, Mansun, Manics, The Cure, Garbage, Muse, The Decemberists, Jeff Buckley, Prince. Despite being constantly compared to them, no-one in the band really knows very much about McClusky.
Current activity: Gigging around London (and beyond) this summer. Making plans to record a better EP than the last one.
Future plans / ambitions: To be on MTV Cribs with out dingy flat of love. It would have to be quite a short edition though. Some of those rockstars that live in LA have fridges bigger than our flat.
Message to the unconverted: If you go to our website, you can hear all our music free! You might like it; you might not. Either way, we appreciate that you tried.