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The Sunshine Underground – Raise the Alarm

Stacey Knott



It may go without saying that NME like to coin new genres and overly hype up new acts. In August 2006, they started a campaign on ‘New Rave’. One of the bands that apparently subscribe to this genre is 4 piece Leeds group, The Sunshine Underground.

While it appears that they haven’t been overly and unnecessary hyped up (definitely not to the extreme of prime façade example – The Artic Monkeys), they do pretty much fit into the ‘New Rave’ category.
However they choose to contest this.
New Rave is basically a new name for dance-punk or disco rock, which means it’s indie rock with dance elements. It also signifies a comeback for rave culture – drugs, glow sticks, and fluro clothing.
The Sunshine Underground recently played an NME ‘New Rave’ tour, alongside CSS. While SU do exhibit danceable elements, they aren’t as explicit as those displayed by their contemporaries. Personally, I would describe their style more as indie rock.
Classifications aside, The Sunshine Underground are named after a Chemical Brothers track – and Raise the Alarm is a pretty good debut album.
They are a party band – hand claps a-plenty, thumping bass lines, crescendo yells (So So Modern come to mind here), and a range of guitar work – be it funk, indie fuzz or melodically erratic.
‘Put You In Your Place’ – the second track, and the first single which premiered in the U.K – is loud and abrasively frantic. It contrasts well with ‘Somebody’s Always Getting In The Way’ – a mellow, ballad-ish, typically indie track, which proves that they are diverse in their writing.
‘The Way It Is’ is more restrained and ‘80s post punk than most other tracks. It plays more like a jam than a typical song structure – featuring an interesting melodic guitar refrain and pre-chorus, which then builds up to an all out bouncy chorus – and ends on a percussive breakdown. It’s probably the most interesting track on the album.
Their overall attitude and sound reminds me of Australian band The Rapture, minus the keys. Vocally, they are a bit of Interpol, with the energy of Franz Ferdinand.
Overall, nothing entirely new or interesting. But, for the most part, quite fun.