I’ll Be Your Audience is a bold offer from any band who aspire to play in front of more than four people. But as quartet Hip Parade last year completed an arena tour supporting Kelly Jones’ Stereophonics, they’re probably entitled to call their their debut album just that.
Hip Parade’s appeal is based on loud guitars rather than the blue-eyed soul which appealed to many ’80s Glaswegian acts such as Wet Wet Wet, Hue & Cry and the record-store-rack near-neighbours, Hipsway.
Anyone who likes the Fratellis’ first album or Franz Ferdinand – or even early U2, Kasabian or the rockier parts of Snow Patrol – will probably like this exuberant racket. Radio 1, 6Music, all the main Scottish music stations and Soccer AM do too, or they wouldn’t have featured them before I’ll Be Your Audience was released on the band’s own label.
Songs like Talk To Me, Last Chance and Girl on the Radio (destined to be played by Catriona Shearer when she next stands in for Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway) have the potential to be used as hit singles – or, in the absence of TV exposure on Top of the Pops, beer commercials. This is intended as a compliment.
In fact, there’s not really a duff track on the record. This is probably the only record in history which namechecks Easterhouse and Patrick Swayze. The other half of the band are from Coatbridge. They were once managed by legendary Tartan Army footsoldier Tam Coyle. Like Ramones, Pink Moon, Back to Black and The Queen is Dead, I’ll Be Your Audience doesn’t overstay its welcome, clocking in at 27 minutes.
Best of all, in these days when musicians have pluggers, publicists, agents, managers, hair stylists, spirit guides, conceptual artists, drug dealers, attorneys, reality TV “mentors” and Kardashians all claiming to speak on their behalf, their guitarist Dave Flavell had the wherewithal to email The Caledonian Mercury with a link to their music, and some basic information.
After a subsequent email for less basic information, he was happy to reveal that two of the band (Rob and Sal Shah) are brothers and met the others at school, they’ve played T in the Park twice as well as the main stage of Rock Ness, they wouldn’t mind recording an album in Japanese or playing a gig in space (“and then try and sabotage the spaceship by smuggling on milk and letting it loose as soon as we hit zero gravity”), their favourite Scotland footballer is Robert Snodgrass (“mainly due to his incredible name”), the Rolling Stone they like best is Keith (doesn’t everyone?), they estimate Lady Gaga probably smells “of piss” and they even attempted to settle the burning debate about which colour Thursday was.
“If Monday is blue (New Order) and Sunday is Red (U2) then in spectrum, Thursday is a kind of purpley colour.”
If you want to go and see Hip Parade this month, they’re playing King Tut’s on the 28th and Rock the Broath the following evening. They’re also happy to discuss what makes them proud to be Glaswegian – “everything apart from the weather, knife crime, our diet and lack of guitar shops”.
The most revealing answer was what music singer Rob Shah liked to turn up loud – “everything. If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” If you share that attitude, there’s a fair chance you’ll enjoy Hip Parade at a festival near you soon.