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Rosemary ‘Suburban Kings’

3:AM’s review copy of the debut single from Dartford three-piece Rosemary arrived in the trusty CD format, which puts us in a relatively small minority. ‘Suburban Kings’ will only be available as a limited edition 7″ record; great for vinyl elitists, but sure to piss off any normal music fan looking for a copy of that nice song they heard on the radio, as pimped by Steve Lamacq. However, it’s true that no one bothers with CDs any more either, and this may well rocket up the download charts. The musical climate is certainly right for it. As the press-release makes it clear, there has ‘never been a better time’ for this kind of music, and some may accuse them of bandwagoneering. In cases such as these, the general advice ought to be: if it rocks, roll with it.
And luckily, it does. Rosemary aren’t just digging up the deadwood; they have their own sound, which just so happens to overlap with the current chart preference. ‘Suburban Kings’ is a surefire summer crowd-pleaser, kicking off as it does with one of those riffs which, though not a total pogo-starter, can’t help but scream ‘now is the time for ice cream and skin cancer!’ Overlapping vocals fill up every inch of the track with value for money, although singer Tim Hill amusingly states ‘I’m struggling how to find a decent way to rhyme/but words are wasted here’. Strangely for a debut single, it ends on the line ‘they will not listen’, but Rosemary are probably too self-deprecating.
The B-side, ‘For he’s Blue’, features a harder-edged sound, underpinned by loping bass and simple, oppressive guitar. If anything, it’s better than the A-side, with Tim Hill yelping ‘ooh-ooh-ooh’ in a way that his edgy voice makes more menacing than upbeat, like Ray Davies being kicked in the goolies. Later on, a screaming guitar solo fights to break free from the rhythm section, which beats it back down just before it can erupt. This song, like its predecessor, includes a building backbeat, showcasing the powerful drumming of Jon Chamberlain. Along with their tight, tense indie, Rosemary show echos of the mod revival. Which would make them mod revival revivalists. For some, this would necessitate a critical laughing-out-of-chart, but Rosemary aren’t just retro and frankly, Paul Weller could do with a kick up the arse.
This is the part of the review where I make a shit pun about ITV’s detective series starring two old women as gardeners turned sleuths. The great British summer will soon be over, but it’s up to the downloading public to make sure Rosemary’s appeal lasts, and that they have more than just fairweather friends. And more than many others in the current crop of Brindie chancers, Rosemary deserve your thyme.

Richard O’Brien was born in Peterborough in 1990, and has been trying to escape ever since. He is currently still trying to get an education, and resides in a Lincolnshire village with his parents and his labradors with nautical names. He likes to act, listen to music, and write songs that will never be sung.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, July 14th, 2006.