By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The questions of originality--or the lack thereof--that have dogged Kula Shaker raises House's hackles. "I'd say 'fuck off' straight away," he says when asked for a response to such allegations. "But if you wanted a logical, rational explanation, I'd say, well you go some place like Japan, and they don't give a shit about what's in the past. They got something from our music, and it's a question they never put forward. Obviously they see the influence, but they don't see it as bad. And I think that someone who'd ask that question would've missed the point with us. I think once you're trying to be new, then you've failed in the first place."
Nice, but that's not the way most British journalists see it, unfortunately. Notoriously nasty in their criticisms, Reef has gotten good and bad press in England, but the bad has been so bad as to inspire their third single, "Yer Old," which is aimed at music scribes. "It's not about age," says House. "You've got people who are 50 years old with really young minds, and then you've got these cunts who are 25, British journalists, who are totally obsessed with bitching and are older in mind than my grandad."
Despite the many negative responses, Reef is steadily winning fans over on both shores, employing a formula that's all American blues. Even the prestigious and often snotty British mag NME declared, "There is no band as utterly poised for world domination as Reef." Shortly thereafter, Glow entered the UK charts at number one.
Thus, the firm grip on Britainiana that has made bands like Pulp and The London Suede--who flaunt their accents, class, and nationalism--appears to be loosening a bit. But don't count the Brits out just yet. "Oasis has a new album coming out soon," says House. "We'll see what happens after that."
The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.