British punks The Reytons have released a video for their latest single ‘Antibiotics’, the most recent taste of their upcoming debut album Kids Off The Estate.
I live in a constant state of fear that I will be ridiculed by my fellow writers and editors if I don’t know a band that either I really should or that they are big fans of. I could try to put on a veneer of being a “hip music critic” who knows every last goddamn bar band and bedroom pop prodigy on all corners of the globe, but the truth is that sometimes, more often than I care to admit, I’m hearing a band for the first time when a press release or feature idea gets thrown my way.
The one thing I’m not afraid of is sharing when I think something is awesome and when I think it’s shit. With artists like Jade Bird or Working Men’s Club, I had absolutely no prior reference and just gave my honest thoughts of what I heard before later learning that someone else on the staff had a strong, often contradictory opinion on them. A group of professional music and culture writers having opinions. Imagine that!
The ugly truth is that writers like me are expected to be experts, and that’s hardly ever inherently the case. That’s where research, due diligence, hard work, and late nights come into the equation. Whenever I review a song, I try as much as I can to listen to the artist’s other work, find out their backstory, and gather as many details as I can just to get a fuller picture of what I’m talking about. It’s for your benefit and mine: hopefully, you can read an entertaining, informative piece about a musician who I’ve done a good enough job describing in detail to warrant either further consideration or hastened aversion, and on the other side I have a solid foundation to defend my words and opinions should the shit hit the fan and I end up saying something that pisses off, or pisses on, the wrong person.
This is an incredibly long-winded way of saying I had never heard of The Reytons, and upon first listen, they seemed like a band that someone at Far Out has a strong opinion about. Take from that what you will. The Reytons have an unmistakably British kind of punk, full of laddish energy and thick indecipherable accents too dense for my untrained ear to translate. When I hear bands like this, my first instinct is to tread lightly.
But screw that! I liked ‘Antibiotics’, and I liked the other songs I heard from the band, especially ‘Could Do Better’, which sounds like a cross between The Kooks and Razorlight without the same level of smugness. Good stuff. I’m not right all the time, but no one’s ever “right” or “wrong” when it comes to reviewing music. We’re all just shouting into the music nerd echo chamber and seeing if anyone responds.
So the moral of the story is: have your opinions and stick by them, no matter what. Show some backbone everyone once in a while. Like what you like, a never worry for a second about being cool. Do your research, work hard, and never say something so glib or flip that you can’t take it back. That’s how you become a good music writer. Just in case you were wondering. Which you weren’t.
Check out the video for ‘Antibiotics’ down below.