Saturday, 14 May 2011

When Two is Better Than One?

When is two better than one? Yes you can have twin vocals or two or more lead guitars, but I like bands with twin drummers or even better, twin bassists. Here's 10 that don't include Rick Wakeman's Yes or Phil Collins Genesis.

1) Cop Shoot Cop
The best of the lot, with their hi and low end basses, their music was menacing, confrontational and chock-full of power. Tod A once slammed his bass into me at the front of the stage in a pub venue in Kentish Town. Like I say, confrontational. "Burn Your Bridges"

2) The Birthday Party
Before drummer Phil Calvert left the band, Mick Harvey who took over the drums in his absence would for certain songs go to a secondary kit and there was nothing quite as exciting as seeing the two of them thumping away, as usually the drummer in any group is concealed behind his kit. Did I prefer the early 2- drum BP from the latter? Live I did, but the songs were maybe stronger on their latter output. Harvey himself is a multi-instrumentalist maven. "Dead Joe"

3) Adam And The Ants
Another band forced to rejig after line-up changes, but unlike BP, The Ants scaled up to two drummers when their original "Dirk Wears White Socks" line up left to form Bow Wow Wow. This is the classic example of two drummers working in tandem, rather than against one another like BP. Very tribal, but despite the bombast and bloated phenomenon that The Ants became for a brief while, they still produced great songs - both incarnations though very different, were equally worthwhile in my humble opinion. "Kings Of The Wild Frontier"

4) The Fall
Perhaps inevitable that The Fall who have had more line up changes than any other band, would have dabbled with a twin drummer phase. With somewhat mixed results I feel. "KIcker Conspiracy"

5) Ned's Atomic Dustbin
I was never a big fan of Neds, even though they had twin basses. Too poppy and tuneful to my ears. Still, they were pretty big for a while. "Happy"

6) Royal Trux
A great band, but depressing to see them framed by that abomination that was "The Word". But everything else on YouTube seems to be their post-twin drummer incarnation, so whad'ya'gonna do? "Night To Remember"

7) Pere Ubu
Another twin instrument that maybe didn't best serve them, seeing as all their best songs came within their fertile first few years at the end of the 70s. "Waiting For Mary"

8) Palehorse
All right, I'll admit it. I'm a frustrated bassist. Two bassists in a band would have given cover for the fact that I couldn't play. But they say Dave Greenfield the Stranglers' keyboardist used to play all JJ Burnel's bass licks for him... Bassists have their backs to the audience way more than lead guitarists who like to show the audience their doodling and noodling. Two basses does lend itself to a certain type of music I'm sure you'll agree. Not many harmonies to be had.

9) Dos
What could be more pure than a band made up solely of two bass guitars? Bassist extraodinaire Mike Watt (Minutemen and Firehose) teams up with Kira Roessler (Black Flag). I'm not sure I'd pay to go and see it live, but hey respect to them anyway.

10) Glenn Branca
Okay I suggested at the outset that twin lead guitars was a bit clichéd. But how about when you've got 30 of them? Branca is orchestral in how he builds and layers the music and when I saw them, each guitarist on stage had a music stand which lent a touch of genius to proceedings. Here it's the orchestra nodding their heads to the music rather than the audience, but hey that's guitarists for you. "Symphony No 13"

11) Boredoms
Not to be outdone, Boredoms invite some mates round to the park. Kodo drumming it ain't.

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