MJ Hibbett and the Validators - Do The Indie Kid

(Artists Against Success AAS 058, limited 7" single of 300 copies, download also available from 7th April 2008)

As some of you readers will know, I quite like MJ Hibbett and the Validators, as it takes me back to a day when indie was just that - indie - and it meant lovely songs written with a smile and plenty of guitars, and most of all - fun. And isn't that what counts? Well, I think so. And so it was with some excitement that a huge slab of an envelope arrived at the Towers with this, their latest single.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Seven inch vinyl single? But seriously, the trusty single is making a comeback - check your local record emporium if you don't believe me. And, to be fair, to make sure the quality of the single isn't compromised, "Do The Indie Kid" is a massive slab of the black stuff, it really is. It feels like the heavyweight 180gram vinyl used on all those remastered albums that you'd get and together with a striking black and pink sleeve with the words to the song on the back (and indeed a little bit of paper on the inside which has the songs to the B-side "The Drummer's Lament" all seems well.

"Do The Indie Kid" has been a live staple of gigs, and it's not difficult to see why. It's infectiously catchy, has a witty riposte or three about people who try to dance to indie tunes (including parents at weddings "twisting to the Pixies"!) and best of all, a chorus that just makes you want to do the same steps for real while it's being sung. So, after me, "hands behind your back, and bounce your hips, move your feet around, and do the indie kid." And I can guarantee you that you'll have either seen someone at an indie disco do that, or you've done it yourself.

The song also contains "Music of the Future" referred to becuase of the fact that you spend years asleep and wake up, and this is how music has changed. Of course in reality it's actually an avant-jazz slice of weirdness that wouldn't look out of place of Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" album, and the band must have enjoyed putting it together, as at the end of each side of vinyl, there's more snippets of "Music of the Future" (parts 1 and 2 are on vinyl, 3 and 4 will be on the iTunes download version).

The B-side "The Drummer's Lament" is also great fun, and the lyrics are sung (appropriately) by the drummer Tim Pattison, who does a good job of really telling you what it's like being a drummer, with the back beat of the drums being very reminiscent of Joy Division, no bad thing in my eyes at all. It builds up gradually and really sounds partly sad but also joyous when the later choruses arrive, and really is reflective but fun. I love the lines near the end "All in all it's a really good job / that every percussionist / gets to work out all his anger / by hitting things hard with sticks." And it's so true too. The end also fades out without drums and it's just the synth backing with Tim singing the chorus,and sounds really lonesome, sort of like it is at the end of the gig when the drummer is the one loading all the gear and everyone else is in the bar.

Tim also produced the whole single, and the production to me sounds a bit cleaner and less raw than other releases by the band, no bad thing, it keeps the brash indie guitar sound that they have, the violin is well placed too and it actually does keep that real spirit of being homemade without compromising on quality, a good thing in my eyes.

So what are you waiting for? If you have a turntable, buy it now. If you don't, buy it anyway, because those that to will get a link to downloadable mp3 versions of the songs on the vinyl, so you can listen to them on a portable player or burn them on to CD yourself. So everyone's a winner, full stop. Now to see if I can get through the song without thinking of those dance steps!

Warren's rating: 84%