Of course it was just a joke, but with the Klaxons actually releasing records that bother the charts and glowstick makers turning a profit for the first time this millennium, New Rave somehow stuck.
Neatly disowned by its instigators, (stand forward Shit Disco and the before mentioned Klaxons) new (or nu) rave has like every scene ‘discovered’ by the NME before it , filtered down from the slightly ironic London trendies to suburban kids looking for something to piss their parents off with. And for this reason and the factual evidence of teenagers sporting yellow plastic fila boots and smiley badges it’s worth at least a cursory glance.
Supposedly the newest incarnation of disco and punk, new rave has unlike its predecessors (punk funk, indie dance, big beat, electro-clash etc…) the acclaim of not actually having any connection whatsoever with its readily quotable title. The Klaxons derivative student rock, vaguely backed up by a mis-firing drum machine has little relation to any form of ‘repetitive beats’.
Their often quoted love of nineties dance music actually boils down to piss poor interpretations of Graces ‘Not over Yet’, not actually a rave tune, but a pop handbag crossover remixed by the nemesis of underground dance music Paul Oakenfold, and ‘The Bouncer’ by Kicks like a Mule, one of many novelty hardcore tracks that helped to kill the original scene.
The indifference to any original rave scene was highlighted by the NME who famously described original ravers as “twats in baggy trousers” All very clever but actually a round up of NME’s pop picks from the early nineties uncovers such gems as Carter USM and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, in light of this I wonder in which context the word twat was actually used.
Whilst there is no benefit to be had by reminiscing about 25,000 people watching the sun rise in a field etc. etc. but what is worth noting is that Acid house and its offspring rave is the only genuine post punk youth culture to actually make a difference. Its year zero made it alright for white people to dance, show some emotions and successfully for a few years at least managed to sidestep the last twenty years of guitar led hegemony, notably somewhere punk failed.
What new rave has done is simply added a fluorescent paint job to the tedium of four lads on stage being worshipped by many. Pop music in 2007 bears a distinct relationship to the sound of the mid eighties where blandness and a total lack of danger were celebrated above all else. New rave is actually only a sub genre of something that, if possible is even more dreary, i.e. the back end of what was once termed ‘indie’
If it’s possible in hindsight to learn from history, surely the acclaim given this substandard rock is the obvious signal of a last stand by the current cultural shift. Hopefully there is something genuinely new and exciting being brewed up in a teenager’s bedroom somewhere in suburbia. What ever is it cannot come too soon, and I hope to god its more interesting than a bass/drums/guitar band trying desperately to reference a deceased musical legacy in order to court controversy.