While so many indie bands thrive off the fanfare surrounding them, England’s quirky retro-rockers the Zutons attribute their success to a lack of hype.
“We’re not a hyped band,” singer Dave McCabe insists. “We’re not like ‘this is the band for 2005 in America’ like other bands like Jet or Franz Ferdinand. I don’t think it’s a bad thing if it happens, it’s just not our band. People feel closer to our music; maybe they feel they discovered it themselves and weren’t led to it.”
Hyped or not, a buzz built around the Zutons, which earned them a solid following, slots touring with the Thrills, R.E.M. and Keane, and a nomination for the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act. Now, the Liverpudlian band that had its frantic rock track “Pressure Point” featured in a television spot for Levi’s jeans is feeling the pressure to deliver a second album that will have the same impact as the first.
“We’ve been recording [demos] on a MiniDisc,” said McCabe, “and I was listening back to the recording, and instantly you just notice that you’ve got to make a couple of changes because they don’t sound nice. It’s just a case of speeding the process up, because you got 20 years to do your first album and just six weeks to do your second one.”
The Zutons’ debut, Who Killed … the Zutons, has only been out in the U.S. since October, but it hit shelves in the U.K. six months earlier, so despite the fact that they could probably still tour the States behind this album for a while, guitarist Boyan Chowdhury said starting on a new project is “just a natural thing.”
Still, the Zutons — rounded out by bassist Russell Pritchard, drummer Sean Payne, and the lone female, saxophonist Abi Harding, who “keeps you on your best behavior,” according to Chowdhury — have no intention of rushing the process.
“It’s not going to turn into a five-year waiting thing,” said McCabe, “but you never know if it could be this year or the start of next year, because you’ve got to get it right. There’s no point putting out a second record that you know is not as good as the first.”
Stateside fans who haven’t gotten enough of the swirling, saxophone-driven, raucous and often silly rock sounds of the first album can expect some of that same attitude on the second, but the band has no plans to re-create its debut.
“I think the second album will be a moving-on thing,” said McCabe. “It’ll have the trademark things, but it’s definitely going to move on. We’re not going to be like a lot of bands where they put out an album soon after and it’s kind of like the first one.”
McCabe said he hopes the band’s varying styles and energetic live show will keep fans coming back for more. “I’m glad we’re not one of those bands where you can turn off and say, ‘I’ve seen their gig already.’ I think people kind of discover the Zutons, which I think is an honest thing these days.”