As a parent, I’m well aware that I’m woefully out of touch with today’s pop music. That’s exactly the way it should be, you might say, and a perfectly valid opinion it is too. But some of us (well me at least) would like to stay vaguely aware of what’s going on in the pop world, so that when our children start listening to pop music (if they’re not already), we have some clue what’s going on.
So, Parents’ Pop Programme is here, to introduce you to a currently successful pop artist each month. Educational? Hopefully. Enlightening? Perhaps. Enjoyable? Perhaps not.
This month’s Parent’s Pop Programme is a guest post from Alison Campbell, who makes fabulous children’s clothes under the name Marble Moon. Find her at Etsy and Facebook. My own daughter has a number of Marble Moon items so I can recommend them personally. Alison writes about an artist who if your kids’ aren’t listening to yet, they may well be soon – Fable.
What is Fable?
In the old (pre-kids, natch) days I used to go to see bands spontaneously all the time but now the very few gigs I do attend are not really gigs, but concerts, that must have been planned for months in advance, are unmissable (when a babysitter is £10 an hour….), and the option of a designated seat is a definite boon.
So finding myself at a random night of bands was like a blast from the past. Of course we didn’t actually get out till after 9 (you know how it is) so we caught the tail end of one band of gentle souls and all of the headliners, Fable. I assumed they were a band but from my retrospective research it appears Fable IS the singer and the musicians are a backing band. It’s a distinction worth making because she was the entire show. There was literally no need to glance at the boys up the back (although my husband claimed the synth player looked like Aphex, not that I had even noticed there was a synth player by that point) because Fable, if that is her real name, is utterly captivating. She is a tiny goth with a huge amount of charisma, energy and a stadium-filling voice pelting out suitably dark lyrics over electro-tinged rock. The venue was the bar of a small and quirky Brighton hotel; I was later told she had recently supported The Cult at Brixton Academy and “owned the stage”.
Oh and she is young, really young. At least to us. Apparently it was her 21st birthday the night we saw her. “People are young these days”, I remarked to my husband, while contemplating my emerging crows’ feet.
What do they sound like?
I was reminded variously of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (although more due to Fable’s look than sound that night, with her asymmetric black hair and zebra print mumu) but sound-wise Muse, Skunk Anansie and even fleeting Rage Against the Machine came to mind. Loud, full, strangely uplifting, impossible to ignore.
Are they any good?
During the show my comments to my husband were that although it was quite the live show, I wouldn’t go home and listen to them. But actually I have (and not just to write this post). “Human Pretending” in particular got under my skin, but the stand-out moment for me really was the stunning cover of “Let’s Dance” (prefaced with a suitably disrespectful announcement of “let’s channel some dead people”) that ticked every box for cover versions that are quite possibly better than the original.
How popular are they?
Judging by the home crowd on the night she certainly has a few hardcore fans and the fact they have scored a spot at Glastonbury (on the Shangri-La Hell stage…who knew that was a thing?) suggests she may be on the up. Highly recommended to fans of Glasto headliners Muse, of which I am not one.
Which kids are listening to them?
Probably those who hate their parents and are preparing right now to stick it to the man.