Peru save us from indie-lite
By David Sue
we all learned from Heath Ledger's mesmerising interpretation of The Joker in The Dark Knight movie, madness can sometimes
be a very, very infectious thing.
Indeed, when placed in the right hands, ideas of the absurd, the unhinged, the freakishly
anarchic, can all be very, well, exciting and enticing things - despite our best resistance.
It's a madcap philosophy
which Manchester band Bobbie Peru are clearly keen to transpose to the world of Manc music.
The punk trio, who describe
themselves on their MySpace page as being like, 'a warm mug of tea laced with arsenic', might just be the band to turn the
good citizens of Manchester a bit crazy. Here is a band who are less mad for it - more plain and simple MAD.
band, we aim to unsettle," murmurs Bobbie Peru bassist Simon 'Ding' Archer, who, at over six foot tall and sporting a punk-rock
Mohican hairstyle, manages to unsettle with physical presence alone.
He continues: "The music we make is the sort
of music I can imagine soundtracking someone being committed to a mental asylum. It's uncomfortable music - the soundtrack
"I love The Joker in the new Batman film - the whole idea of distorting people's perceptions of what's
right and what's wrong. That's what this band are all about."
Since forming two years ago, Bobbie Peru - named after
a character from a David Lynch film - have done a fine job of unhinging the otherwise sane minds of Manchester music devotees.
Theirs is a world where reality and rationality are tiny obstacles to a far more enticing world of surrealism and
the freakishly macabre.
The band's live shows find singer Bert Genovese dressed in a Guantanamo Bay-style boiler suit
screaming into the faces of audience members; their artwork and imagery is influenced by the surrealist painter Salvador Dali;
and the band's biggest celebrity fan is none other than The Fall's Mark E Smith, a man who definitely knows bonkers music
when he hears it.
Creating an unsettling post-punk noise which brings to mind a bloody motorway pile-up between Fugazi,
Sonic Youth and The Fall (but louder and more violent than all three), this is a band who wilfully walk the line between madness
and off-beam genius.
You never know which one you're going to get with Bobbie Peru, but that's all part of their ghoulish
charms. The we way we see it," explains Ding, "is that you're never going to hear our music on Radio 1, next to a song by
"We just don't make that kind of cosy, comfortable indie music which is so in fashion now.
so much indie-lite music which is there to soundtrack shopping for jeans in the Arndale.
"I hate that sort of comfortable
indie music, which is essentially like wallpaper.
"Bobbie Peru make music which is uncomfortable - it's there to challenge
your senses and sanity. It's not pretty, delicate music. It's more the sound of a car crash."
Bobbie Peru's heart of madness is their frontman, lyricist and main spokesman Bert Genovese.
A former art
student who's fond of citing non-music influences like Kurt Vonnegut, James Joyce and David Lynch, he's a man determined to
make the world come round to his rather askew, eccentric way of thinking.
Geography plays a big part in this - Bert
was born and brought up in Atlanta, Georgia, in the States, and he moved to Manchester six years ago to pursue a music career
(his first band Adom made minor ripples on the Manc music scene, CityLife readers may remember).
But since forming
Bobbie Peru with like-minded misfits David Evason (on drums) and Ding (who played bass in PJ Harvey's backing band for two
years), Bert began to pen more observational songs; songs which were part social realism, part questioning the functions of
society as we know them.
"As an American living in England, I write things from a different cultural perspective,"
"I'm fascinated by how English society works. There are so many bands writing this very rose-tinted
view of the country, and romanticising what they see.
"I don't see the point - this is a time to portray a more brutal,
truthful view of the country.
"From knife culture, to youth violence and all
these gangs hanging around on the streets at night.
"There's a lot of things to question."
With such a brutalising
outlook, it's unlikely Bobbie Peru were ever going to share a fanbase with the likes of Alphabeat. But in the two years since
they've been gigging, Bobbie Peru have built up a strong and very loyal army of misfits and followers.
live shows are textbook lessons in punkish iconoclasm where anything can fall apart at any second (a recent gig saw Bert run
into the audience and launch a bottle of wine across the room); while their debut album Social Suicide (released on New York-based
indie label Dig Nitty Records) should bring joy to any fans of funereal post-punk gloom who have felt short-changed by conveyor
belt miserablists like Editors or Interpol.
But then again, it's probably not joy which Bobbie Peru want to elicit
from audiences - more unruly madness. In the words of The Joker, let the craziness begin.
"The whole point of this
band is to provoke a reaction," insists Ding. "For me, there's nothing worse than me looking out into the audience and seeing
people with their arms crossed looking indifferent and apathetic.
"I want people to have an extreme reaction to us
- extreme disgust or extreme love.
"We're here to polarise. And if people think we're a bit insane then we're doing
Album Review from NYC based Sentamentalist Magazine September 2007
Unabashedly sounds like "A warm cup of tea with a hint of arsenic" on their MySpace page. Hands down,
Manchester-bred Bobbie Peru is the best nu-gaze band in a while, fraught with fresh skank and leaden with time-bomb rhythms.
Snippets of dire social commentary of "Sleepwar" is Rancid-related, but plenty of elements separate Bobbie Peru from the punk
wrangling shoegaze masses. Notable is the firecracker drumming in "Broken Bones" and cheeky humor, based on Communist lexicon
in "Bon Bon Rue", is barely-caring bouncy. "BF Skinner" makes damn sure listeners know Bobbie Peru can get raw and nitty-gritty
without going for overwrought. Unreleased song "New Swan Souffle", solely judged by the title, is a prime example of incisive
humor. However jaded it may be, one cannot deny Bobbie Peru of complete, utter steamrolling.--Karen Fu http://www.myspace.com/sentimentalist
Bobbie Peru Album Review - Mike CK
Bobbie Peru – album
As the CD gets up to spinspeed I am intuitively expecting great things. I immediately want to see them live – the
recording captures enough to let me know they are for real. St John Peel would've loved them. That's good enuff4me. Rip it
– onto the player – hit the road. I will fight. Bloc Party in there somewhere – the voice, the synths, the
phaser. Better than Bloc party tho. Guitar like Delta Five. Shit, they're unsigned! What are these stoopid labels doin of?
Guys, you're bloody brilliant. Believe U Me. Believe. Oh, psychedelic+garage – like XTC, or an English Seeds. Whatever,
I've got it, u ain't. LOL!
Can u imagine working for a record label that releases crap like girls aloud? It's especially weird when juxtaposed against
Bobbie Peru and other class acts. U begin to realise that all lemons are yellow but not all yellows and lemon. Different.
They both pop, they not both good. No, wrong. Not both same, different. No, that's just liberal me. Go to a bad restaurant
and tip heavy – tell em they are good, keep it up. They go out og business quick. I missed it again. Oh no, GA are sexy.
Kit off! So, if it's hormones that need ticklin… How dya make a hormone? Refuse to pay. Hee hee hee. Bless.
1st prize goes to Bobbie Peru
MIKE CK http://mikeckstonedimmaculate.blogspot.com/
The final band I want to mention in this update is Bobbie Peru, who I saw live for a work event, and have been liking their music ever since. They sent me a link to the gig I went
to, and whilst it's not the best quality, you'll get the idea - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWvPZ4--sSY
I like their style; it's a good combination of rock and punk-rock, that harks to bands like Shellac,
Mclusky and Sonic Youth, in differing measures. I urge you to check them out, I hope they get a record deal
Review of The Mixing Tin Gig in Leeds,
What can be said about the third band on the line up this evening, Bobbie Peru?
Lead singer Bert, adorns
the stage with his red boiler suit, looking like he has just escaped from Guantanamo Bay, and displays a vocal energy rather
like someone who has been locked up for a very long time.
I have wanted to see these guys for a while, and even though
I am usually disappointed with bands I've had a live yearning for, Bobbie Peru deliver on every level.
guys know how to work a stage and explode. They are punky and dark one minute, rock and blues the next. The vocals are sometimes
scary but carefully poised and take you to an imaginary edge, where you can feel lead singer Bert stood behind you wanting
to cheekily prod you over with his finger.
They are such an invigorating injection to a music scene laden with emo
pop and Green Day wannabes, and they are all quite clearly as mad as badgers in a captivating way. Each of their personalities
emanate through their performance and it works well, with Winger on guitar, innovatively crashing and bashing through tunes
such as '1971' then switching to show a more hazy gentler style on tunes such as 'Narcissus' Bert has exceptional vocal ability
and can attack any lyric with confidence and venom but also shows an enveloping sweeter sound with his voice on the above
tune to match the guitar workings.
The bass player, Ding is amazingly experienced and sets them far apart with a maturity
that is evident in every strike of his fingers. Coupled with some pretty sweet driving beats from Dr. E, as shown in 'Burning
In Hindsight' and 'BF Skinner.'
I'm officially a convert to Bobbie Peru, and if you're looking for something
new and stimulating I think you'll like them too.