I’ve not tested this theory, but I’m pretty certain there will be a large correlation between people who laugh when I play them Squeeze’s 1979 single ‘Cool For Cats’ and friends who do not understand The Rhythm Method.
Like Squeeze, The Rhythm Method could be written off as a novelty; writing about pubs and referencing marginal pop culture figures. But this would be completely wrong of you and you need to realise that behind these often genuinely funny wisecracks set to brilliantly catchy and cheesy melodies, to a lot of people The Rhythm Method are and are going to be important. I’m not talking about your NME ‘New Rock Revolution’ self-aggrandising importance. I’m talking about an importance to the (probably very niche) audience they’re going to acquire who will rub their eyes and think ‘Here is a band that might be writing songs just for me’.
If I were being cheap and looking for an easy description, I’d say The Rhythm Method were musically a mix between Chas And Dave and The Streets – and by the facade of the hypothetical, I’ve done just this. The duo, in 2015, actually namecheck Chas And Dave in their first single that arrived earlier this year, so perfectly wrapped in the grainy video it came with. No one quite believes that it did come out this year, thinking it was a single from the 70s; but perhaps the most telling debunking of that myth is the ‘…no change from a tenner?’ line.
Between spoken-wordsmith Joseph Bradbury and sweet voiced producer Rowan Martin, there’s a brilliant exploration of masculinity in their music – and therein lies the comfort, for me. There’s a message they want to get across : it’s fine to drink in cheap pubs and you don’t have to grow a fucking beard.
In and amongst all of the wordplay and witty references though, there’s a fragility that cuts through the jokes. A devastatingly simple chorus of ‘How would you know I was lonely if I didn’t tell everyone?’ is as simple yet as evocative a line as you’ll hear in any chorus this year and goes some way to showing you that actually, perhaps despite the posturing and laissez-faire demeanour, they’re probably one of the most sincere bands going.
Live, the band are also an enigma. It’s been noted they look like two blokes who’ve turned up at a karaoke, both standing front of stage and singing over a backing track. As such, there can be some bemusement, but on the right night and the right crowd it evokes a sing-a-long with your mates.
Look, I’m not saying you’re going to be someone who understands The Rhythm Method in any way – or that you should. I’m just saying that if society, particularly in London, is something you can’t quite connect with, and if you often find your mind drifting off and wondering what Jesper Grønkjaer is up to nowadays because for some reason you feel more emotion towards him then you do towards most people you know, then maybe this is a band worth looking up. Where most acts striving for this kind of an emotional attachment and relevance fail, The Rhythm Method works.
You can catch The Rhythm Method supporting Real Lies on their UK Tour in October.