We’re all aware of the term ‘buzz band’, right? It’s something applied to emerging artists who are riding the (usually online) cultural chatter, the ‘band of the moment’ if you will. It’s obviously a horrific title to apply to any new band, as although it suggests excitement among the taste-makers, it’s likely to burn bright, but ultimately burn out as fast as it arri
We’re all aware of the term ‘buzz band’, right? It’s something applied to emerging artists who are riding the (usually online) cultural chatter, the ‘band of the moment’ if you will. It’s obviously a horrific title to apply to any new band, as although it suggests excitement among the taste-makers, it’s likely to burn bright, but ultimately burn out as fast as it arrived. It’s temporary. It’s brief. It’s deadly and no bands want their hard work to be labelled as something that’s so instantly due for rapid decline. It’s the media coverage equivalent of striking a match – hot, bright and utterly useless in an instant.
So how do bands get set up for such a brief encounter? What are the boxes that need to be ticked in order for the buzz label to be unscrupulously slapped upon them, immediately starting the countdown on their career’s few seconds. Well, the hype of blogs is a good start, particularly those ones that post nine times a day in the endless race to be first to stuff, because being second is so, well, like behind yeah. Then a cracking debut gig at somewhere like The Shacklewell Arms or in some crackhead’s kitchen in Dalston or somewhere similar is a must. All this needs to be swiftly followed up by the debut single arriving through one of the hottest new labels in the UK.
London five-piece, Zulu Winter, have been busy doing precisely all of these things to the letter over recent weeks. The things is, they may well be labelled as the current buzz band, but rather than panicking, they’re not going to give a flying fuck. Their sincerely fantastic music means that they will definitely burn bright, but there’s no way they’re going to burn out. They’re simply too good. It’s a relief to all as we run up to the release of their lead single, Never Leave, which comes out on Double Denim (home to the likes of Outfit, Stay +, Blackbird Blackbird) on November 7th.
Comparisons with Friendly Fires will rightly bounce around, as this group also contain all the ingredients for the top, with Guy Henderson’s drums rolling around the room on the single. It’s a very strong track, with singer Will Daunt calling out the excellent chorus “I will never leave“, which is sure to have the crowd swept along. It’s the kind of excellent euphoric indie that another fantastic new band, Peace, are aiming for, but Zulu Winter seem to arrive with required polish already applied. Silver Tongue continues the high standards, with a few glacial synths providing an exhilarating wall of sound behind yet another towering tune. Let’s Move Back To Front introduces a matured slower pace, but the easing up loses none of the craft.
On the early evidence this seems like a band that’s clearly able to not only write tunes that are instantly engaging, but that are ready as singles. That’s a rare skill, but a mighty useful one. It’s fine to tread the buzz band path, as it’s a vital channel if you want to direct yourself into the public’s attention, but the real skill is delivering great music upon arrival. It’s this that will keep your fire burning brightly well beyond the initial scrutiny. Rather than suffering under the pressure Zulu Winter should ride the wave with confidence, as they definitely have what it takes to last well beyond any facile, brief blog obsession. On the one hand labels, gigs, hipsters and blogs get excited all too easily, but on the other they don’t even look in the first place unless the band has something to offer. However, this band can ignore the short attention spans of the current adulation as they have exactly what is needed for the long game. Well after this first few months of hype is over we predict that this band will go on to be the success that 2012 doesn’t yet know it’s waiting for.
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