DIY punk rockers Melisandre’s Beaver are easy to dismiss as three ‘idiots’ – their words – with a silly name, but they’ve produced an album that’s well worth your time and attention.
The Kent trio began as three mates who started jamming together, wrote some tunes, clicking through their love for “the same stupid things,” then fusing a “three-way collaboration of three idiots writing tunes about whatever the hell they feel like.”
The band, of course, takes its name from the red witch in Game Of Thrones who, in guitarist and vocalist Dan’s words, “burns kids and gets her tits out.” He expands: “The actress that plays her has a band that we were going to see at a festival, but we couldn’t remember the name so our mate Tom decided it was ‘Melisandre’s Beaver’. Fast forward a few years and here we are. What’s so good about her beaver is that it’s a memorable band name – some people like it and some people don’t, but it’s a talking point and if people are talking about our band then happy days.”
The trio, completed by Mac (bass and vocals) and Rob (drums and vocals), have honed a fun, energetic punk sound that Dan summarises as “like a threesome of Teenage Bottlerocket, the non-brassy Jesse James tunes and an extremely slim and muscular Tenacious D.”
As Dan puts it: “It’s been a bit of a slow burner, just because we’re a DIY band and don’t have a PR machine behind us, but every reviewer who gets their lugs on it has been saying they love it. The trick is convincing people that a DIY band with a stupid name have actually put out an album that is worth listening to.
“We tried to do a bit of everything – some straight-laced punk songs, some tongue in cheek, some outright comedy, some earnest. The whole point was for the album to genuinely represent us as three people, and not to pretend to be anything else for the sake of some phoney false image of the band. It made the track order tricky but I think we found a way of getting the listener through the album on a journey. Highs, lows and all the stuff in the middle.”
The album, If Only We Were Serious, kicks off with angsty punk vocals followed by cries of “Fuck the system” in the intro to F.T.S. then a singalong chorus “If you don’t know what this song’s about, You’ll get the hang of it soon, of that I’ve no doubt, We’re saying there’s no need for conformity, Do whatever you want and live life carefree.” That continues straight into the second verse’s opening line “I fucking hate Big Bang Theory” – which instantly has me onboard, that show sucks.
The album is packed full of fast-paced punky riffs, with Maybe It’s Me? a great example of this. The great second verse “Is it even pop-punk if they don’t mention pizza? It’s like the whole scene’s got musical amnesia” gives way to a lively chorus of the amusing lyrics “I had my heart broken by a band, they couldn’t take a joke and didn’t want us as fans, Their lyrics were awesome and their tunes were sick, But the bassist’s a pube and the singer’s a prick, I’m not bitter, but maybe its me?”
And the somewhat Reel Big Fish minus brass sounding Rest In Pizza follows on nicely, with the random chorus “If I die, bury me, with my pizza, And something on the side, There ain’t no way it will keep another week, So if I die, bury me with my pizza.” Check it out in the video below:
Truth Be Told is another example of the random punky excellence, as highlighted by final verse “Shakespeare’s got a lot to answer for, ‘Cos R&J’s a load of shit, Real life’s shades of grey at it’s core, And love’s the biggest lie inside of it.”
While the brilliantly named Weathered Spoons (and Pointless Forks) is one of my favourite tracks on the album, and features guest female vocals in a two-way tale of picking someone up in a pub. It begins with a big smash of punky chords, then Dan’s cries of “Six foot six, big old tits, Little black dress so hard to miss, Talkin’ shit, and she sounds like this.” Then female spoken vocals ”Ello darlin’ have I met you before? You can go and buy me a drink or four, Then if you’re lucky, you can take me home, I’m pretty sure, since ’94, I’ve never slept alone!'” That flows into the catchy chorus “She’s not that bright, And she’ll keep you up all night, But she looks alright in a certain light, And it won’t be long until the break of dawn, When she knows it’s wrong, she’ll be up and gone.”
Edgy female vocals kick in “Guess who else is here, That beefcake prick with potato ears, Is it attention that he wants, Or does he have a rod up his ass? Six foot six, eyes are fixed, Stupid tight shirt so hard to miss, He’s talking shit and he goes like this:” then Cockney spoken vocals “‘Ello treacle have we met before?, Let me buy you a drink or four, Then if you’re lucky I’ll take you home, And then I’ll slap you with my beefcake cone.” That’s followed by dual vocals on the chorus, shared spoken vocals then a final blast of the chorus.
This track epitomises the fun, engaging punky style, but the band’s combined musical influences are pretty random. From Dan’s early MTV2 influences to a host of punk bands and the Darkness’ latest album, to Mac growing on Dutch radio station Arrow Classic Rock, and Rob’s wide-ranging inspirations from Neil Young, Green Day and Trivium through to Vivaldi and Vulfpeck.
But what makes the band really appealing is their sense of fun and the comedy that comes through in their music. As Dan says: “We write about what we see, we’re not clever enough to do anything else. I think that’s a good thing because we’re writing honestly. Star Trek, Ainsley Harriot, computer games, pizza, World War 1, love, the music industry, having fun, being pissed off, not feeling cool enough. Intentionally, nothing is off limits – if all your songs are written to try and fit a mould, you end up with an album of 13 songs that all sound the same.”
The band has a whole host of gigs coming up, kicking off tomorrow at St Moritz Club in Soho, then next Friday in Staines, followed by Ramsgate, Bolton, Lancaster and Sheffield. More info on where you can see them is here.