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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 08:11 GMT
Sound of 2007: The Twang
By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

The Twang

Birmingham indie rockers The Twang have come second in the BBC News website's Sound of 2007 poll after being hailed as Britain's best new band by the NME.

Music critics and broadcasters were asked to name their favourite new artists, with the results compiled into a top 10. The winner and full list will be revealed on Friday.

There is no point analysing the origins of The Twang, according to Phil Etheridge, the band's 25-year-old songwriter and mouthy frontman.

Being in a band just seemed an obvious way for five music-loving mates from a run-down part of Birmingham to meet up and have a laugh.

"You just form a band. You just do, don't you? I don't even know how it's happened," he says.

The Twang stand out for being uncomplicated, unpretentious and endearingly honest.

The Twang
The band are already getting a reputation for rowdiness
They are also ambitious, fiercely committed and not short of charisma or talent - a combination that brings back memories of Oasis and the Happy Mondays.

Their songs caused a stir in the music press before a record deal was signed.

And as long as their tunes are good, the band see no point dissecting how they happen or where they come from.

"It sounds how it sounds," the singer says. "It's just got to sound good. It's got to make your hair stand up, innit?

"Next is to make a good record, make an album that's the best album of the last five years."

Etheridge and fellow frontman Martin Saunders deliver vocals that range from dreamy and wistful to loud and lairy, while Stuart Hartland's guitar provides an expansive, anthemic backdrop.

All of which has led to comparisons with baggy-era Manchester bands like the Mondays and Stone Roses.

The Twang frontman Phil Etheridge
I ain't going to sing about rivers, man, I don't live by a river - I live by a canal and there's bikes in it
Phil Etheridge
The Twang frontman
The band themselves say Oasis and The Streets are bigger heroes.

And The Twang's swagger is likely to be seized upon by those who think indie bands these days are too sensitive, styled or insincere.

Or as Etheridge puts it: "We're normal lads instead of some little posh div.

"People like lads who talk about what they do with their mates, don't they?

"I ain't going to sing about rivers, man. I don't live by a river. I live by a canal and there's bikes in it."

And The Twang are already getting a reputation for rowdiness - the story of bassist Jon Watkin's arrest for wielding a samurai sword has spread almost as fast as their music.


"Years ago, when he was young and foolish, he got arrested with a samurai sword chasing some rockers," says Etheridge.

"He got chinned outside his house. He went in to get an instrument and the closest thing at hand was a samurai sword on the wall.

We just have a laugh, and obviously sometimes that might be a little bit more rowdy than you and your friends having a dinner party
Phil Etheridge
"He went up the road to get 'em, but he got nicked with it because you can't walk down the street with a samurai sword in your hand."

But the five friends are "just mischievous", he insists. "Look at me - I'm 10st 8lb (67kg), I don't go out brawling, none of us do.

"We just have a laugh, and obviously sometimes that might be a little bit more rowdy than you and your friends having a dinner party, but it's only done in jest."

The fivesome are trying to do something with their lives, see the world and make some money, he says.

"It's pretty obvious that we're not insane.

"But there's not that many lad bands around so I can see that the media are going to want to blow that up."

  • More than 130 impartial UK-based music writers, editors and broadcasters took part in to the Sound of 2007 poll by naming their three favourite new acts.

    These tips were weighted to take account of each pundit's stature, genre and record in previous polls, as well as the order in which they ranked their tips, with the results compiled into a top 10.

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