Thanks to our man Mike Roberts, W&H were quick off the blocks where the movement known as 'Two Chord Council Pop' is/ was concerned. Centred primarily around Manchester's less fashionable environs, it threw up some fascinating lippy contenders such as The Casinos and Orphan Boy.
As their name might suggest, Orphan Boy were actually Cleethorpes boys who'd uprooted themselves and pitched up in Manchester. They kicked up a stink in and around the hinterland and went on to release their début album 'Shop Local' in 2008. It may not have exactly broken them nationally, but it's since been hailed as something of a scruffy classic, most certainly a great example of the 'no chorus' Two-Chord Council Pop ethic.
Since 'Shop Local”s arrival, two of Orphan Boy have slunk off back to Cleethorpes, but their hard-headed determination remains intact. They have the bare-faced cheek to describe their forthcoming second album 'Passion, Pain & Loyalty' (due on 2nd August) as “one of the last great Rock'n'Roll records”, but when you hear this trailer single you wish there were more bands around with the brass neck to tell it like it is.
Because 'Popsong' is another minor classic. Built upon Chris Day's tom-heavy drumming and a keyboard riff which sounds like the chimes from an ice-cream van, it's a tough and steely tale of being on the receiving end of music biz shenanigans on the lower rungs of the ladder, throws in references to colourful miscreants who “used to drive vans for Prefab Sprout” and makes no bones of being in a situation where “I sold my only pop song for a handshake and a lie.” Imagine the early Happy Mondays fronted by Half Man Half Biscuit's Nigel Blackwell and you're getting there, basically.
Scabrous, bitter and wise, 'Popsong' is very much the epitome of two chords and the truth. It still doesn't have a chorus as such, though it does have an exhilarating chord change at one stage. It's the sound of Orphan Boy growing up and once you've succumbed to a few listens that boast of creating “one of the last great Rock'n'Roll records” doesn't sound quite so facetious after all.
Orphan Boy on Myspace
Concrete Recordings online