The Who (as managed by Brian Epstein)
The age of dance music and internet pop sensations like Gangnam Style might be upon us, but the swinging ‘60s are still very much alive and kicking 50 years on. More importantly, if you’re nostalgic for the electrifying screams of Townshend’s guitar, the Beatle’s shirt and tie outfit, or even the Kink’s vocal groans, then fear not, for all these things are collectively coming to town, in the form of Thee Attacks.
The Aalborg band have been touring the whole of Europe to promote their new album, Dirty Sheets, with the hope that it will match the critical success of their first album, That’s Mister Attack to You. Thee Attacks have as a result set the bar very high, but are desperate to break out of the Danish music industry and become an international success.
“Here in Denmark you have to look outside of the country to make something of yourself,” vocalist Jannick Juel told arte.tv. “Because even if you’re the biggest in Denmark, you will only reach a maximum audience of five million. And let’s face it, that’s not big enough to make a meaningful career in music.”
A self-titled ‘live-garage band’, the four piece outfit (who’ve all taken on ‘Attack’ as stage name surnames) can only be described as a contemporary take on retro rock ‘n’ roll. Try to imagine a cross between the Kinks and the Hives, or The Who and the White Stripes … and only then you will get the idea of the kind of up-tempo music Thee Attacks like to blast at people. But as the band explains, they don’t see themselves as a retro tribute band, but more as a group of musicians who are heavily influenced by the culture of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
“It’s not like we just want to be another ‘60s band,” drummer Rune Lundsgaard told TheBeatJuice. “We just love the way they did it back then.”
If that isn’t enough to intrigue you, then consider the fact that the Grammy award-winning British producer Liam Watson (who helped create the White Stripes album Elephant) worked on Thee Attacks’ first album in 2010 − a partnership that only came about after Juel decided to make a cheeky phone call to the producer.
“I just called up the studio and got a very arrogant Englishman on the line,” Juel explained to Undertoner.dk. “I told him what we were about, and he simply brushed us off by saying he couldn’t be bothered with retro rock. But we convinced him to listen to our demo, and a few days later we were recording an album with him.”
Granted, Thee Attacks have changed slightly since 2010. Back then they were bare-chested, leather trouser-wearing, wannabe rock stars who swung their sweaty hair around in manic fashion. Somewhat like The Who perhaps. But that style’s now been abandoned for the ‘60s British invasion/Paul McCartney look. The hair’s much shorter and the band wear tight white shirts, pointed high heel shoes and very, very skinny jeans. But while their image might have smartened up, their onstage presence hasn’t changed.
“The thing about Thee Attacks is that we’re a live band,” Juel told TheBeatJuice. “We of course find it rewarding to create songs and make records, but playing songs live and having a party with a crowd is the most rewarding thing for us.”
Jumping on the retro band wagon is by no means an original concept for pop rock bands, but Thee Attacks’ combination of fuzzy simple chords and relatively standard blues patterns creates a hard type of soft rock. Couple that with catchy lyrics like ‘C’mon c’mon, feed me with your tongue, I’ll chase you if you run,’ and you can see why Thee Attacks would cater well to the retro lovers and 1960s swingers.
If you fancied the idea of seeing a younger version of the Who, you’re probably too late, but if you’d like to see a younger version of The Who wearing Beatles 1963-64 outfits, then you’re in luck. Don’t shrug off the chance to witness this confused ‘60s band, because who knows what they’ll end up looking or playing like the next time they’re in town.