15 Sep 2014

Let's Not Forget That Catfish and the Bottlemen Are Pretty Damn Creepy

It's probably best to start this post off by saying I don't hate Catfish and the Bottlemen's music, and I would never think less of someone who did. I find them a largely inoffensive middle-of-the-road NME buzz band, of the most mediocre variety. The fact that their debut album's out today couldn't really phase me less but it doesn't annoy me or anything like that. But it's not their 'eh' standard music that I hold against Catfish and the Bottlemen; that’s not a big deal.  The sexism that surrounds them, and laces their music is however, to me, a really fucking big deal.
See, a number of weeks ago, everyone was talking about an article, this article, written by one Jonnie Barnett about a live Bottlemen gig up north. Whilst it confirmed any suspicions that they're just another middle-of-the-road indie rock act, it also opened everyone's eyes to the underlying sexism of the band as a whole, and whilst that's sadly all too common in indie rock over the past 10 years, it's certainly not acceptable. It showed the the sperm they've got for a logo is actually a pretty good summary of the band themselves; it's tacky, it's simple and it's sleazy as. The article states that the lead singer Van McCann (which is a fake name, although, who’d choose that out of all the names in the world you could go for?) allegedly asked a number of women in the audience to take their tops off (and also misused the word 'gay' in a way that could be seen as homophobic). Seriously. And whether their music's your cup of tea or not, abusing a position of power and influence is just plain wrong, and just plain grotesque. And really fucking creepy. 
I guess maybe you could say I'm writing this because I don't really like the band all that much, which is true; I’ve seen them  twice now, at both Latitude and Truck festival, and they’ve been notably underwhelming each time; but that’s not quite why I’m writing this. Using your power and influence to harass and (a quick scan of the internet suggests) harass (and even more) with people that have paid money to see your music seems not right to me. In fact it seems just plain sick, and I can't be alone in this, right? Catfish and the Bottlemen seem creepy as to everyone else too, right?
And combine all the talk of the sexist ‘banter’ from their gigs with the lyrics “I’ve got to give it to you, you give me problems when you’re not in the mood” from their single Kathleen, and Catfish seem to be ever so symptomatic of rape culture. Lyrics in which the singer’s persona directly tells his lover that it’s a ‘problem’ she’s not in the mood? That’s creepy to say the least.
Catfish and the bottlemen.jpgAnd their infamous merch posters, they're embarrassing, aren’t they? Maybe they'd be funny if they were entirely sarcastic, but the fact that they go through the trouble of writing it out every single show they play, on the off chance that someone will pay them the price of the entry ticket for "5 tugs on the porridge pistol" and a kiss is almost worrying. It's really sad that some bands take advantage of their fans like that. It’s so symptomatic of lad culture, and it’s just gross. Maybe on its own, this poster wouldn’t be so bad, it might even deserve some cheap laughs, maybe. I can see it's a joke, but one which positions female fans in a way which is demeaning. But really, especially when it’s combined with ballads of rape-culture and creepy album artwork, this kind of laddish humour might be a bit of a step too far. Maybe with the recent cancellation of Dapper Laughs, we should also cancel Catfish and The Bottlemen.
I guess their music is pretty lacklustre too - nothing you've not heard before is an understatement. They're not my cup of tea, but they clearly come from that niche of clunky guitar bands that only wanna be The Courteeners or the first album-era Arctic Monkeys. Their songs are everything you've heard before, and less. But to be fair to them, they're not quite as bad as The Courteeners, and they’re certainly a tad better than Razorlight. Maybe they’re even a solid Kooks on a good day.
And perhaps, a bit like Razorlight or The Courteeners, one look at them tells you all you need to know; they've got an incredibly handsome frontman who partakes in every  single Catfish interview, and a band more anonymous than, well, the members of Anonymous. Van is the only member as such, the rest seem completely expendable. And somehow, even dressed in all black, the other 3 look like they’d rather be anywhere but where they are. A bit like me, at Catfish’s Truck show. It's a rare that a band don't pull off wearing all black at every possible occasion, but this summery indie band would probably be better suited to some more Proper Lad Clobber, so they can be just like The Courteeners.

Oh, and they call everyone "lids", because "lads" isn't fucking annoying enough.
To summarise; Catfish and The Bottlemen are a creepy band that not only sing mediocre leather jacket love songs that belong in 2001, but also perpetuate and normalise the rape culture epidemic that’s making society a horrible hostile environment for both women and those with a fair amount of moral fibre. Yes, their music has it's merits, and, from what I understand they are very hardworking people, but for all the reason above their music, and music of a similar ilk, is certainly not for me.