Since last summer when I’m From Barcelona announced their arrival on the London stage at Jamm in Brixton in a fanfare of party tunes blasted triumphantly and a cornucopia of balloons and confetti strewn with the fist-pumpin’ celebrations of a major-title winning sports team, nothing much has changed.
Every gig is still “the last day of school” with IFB and every gig it’s still songs almost exclusively from the debut album. Now, I wouldn’t mind so much, but this does mean playing We’re From Barcelona twice – the second time is an oddly distorted techno version that sounds horribly like Rednex’ Cotton Eye Joe– and the frenzied, communal party atmosphere at times lends itself more to motivational speaking than pure pop explosion.
The Painter, with its insistent, singalong refrain, “Don’t give up on your dreams boy” now causes me to think that I’m From Barcelona is nothing more than – shudder – Christian Rock By The Back Door.
We didn’t stand for Sixpence None The Richer – after Kiss Me, there was a poorly received cover of There She Goes and we saw no more of them (the singer revealing, distastefully, to Melody Maker that she pissed on herself everyday in the shower mightn’t have helped) - and we shouldn’t stand for this.
Stuart Murdoch may have continued to work as a church janitor after Belle and Sebastian received some attention, but did he turn their songs into rallying cries for the Christian movement? No, he sang about sexual aids in The Boy With The Arab Strap, and so forth.
Equally worrying, IFB lead singer Emmanuel Lundgren looks increasingly like Paul Calf.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the gig. But I would be happier with a public statement clarifying the band’s position on religion. I don’t like to think that the kids are being brainwashed, but there is something Christian Rock about this band that I find very unsettling.