London duo, Rowan and Joey, are like any typical duo. There is the more boisterous and bombastic singer/lyricist Joey, while the distant and slightly quieter producing role is given to Rowan. They are producing music about pubs and growing up in a city that has a cultural history in regards to television that is nostalgic not only to the parents who grew up around it, but the offspring of children who still consume the great British classics. The 80s especially was a time when comedy sitcoms became so notoriously associated with British identity, and it is this sense of believing that telly was better in the past, breeds a nostalgia like a T.S Eliot poem ‘breeding, Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing, Memory and desire’ of evenings watching the great classics and wondering when time got away.
Citing the influence of theme tunes from Minder starring Dennis Waterman and George Cole, or the influence of one of Britain’s greatest comedies Only Fools and Horses Sullivan’s lyrics in the closing credits being “we’ve got some half price / cracked ices / and miles and miles of carpet tiles / TV’s / deep freeze / and david Bowie LP’s” is echoed in the song Local, Girl with the lyrics ‘cellar / Posh and Becks / selfies / pictures / s-e-x.’ These clear snippets of recognition in the lyrics are like “snippets of dialogue” from film and television, creating a narrative of a harsh reality, yet one that is loved, like going to a Pub on a Friday night. Perhaps this why Joey reveals that ‘I feel like people are put off by [our music] because it’s too honest…my lyrics are a bit close to the bone.’
It is a replica of the traditional British theme songs, so aesthetic and embedded in British culture through constant reruns on Gold that makes the band stand out for being different to the music that’s currently on the radio, especially with the effortless singing style. Like the theme song to the ITV show Heartbeat, or Alan Clarke’s screenplay of Road. It manipulates and teases this idea of lower class, lower production.
They emulate this culture in dance tracks that are subtle and yet, touching and nostalgic. Samples nicked off Youtube, the band emulates the sounds of musicians like Madness or Jona Lewie. It is this idea of loving bands with a “massive pop appeal” even when their sound was indie and DIY.
The songs play off one another with a toneless, but not emotionless, spoken-word singing style. It’s this effortless style of undone, that really gives the music a reminiscent style in the modern age, where ‘that honesty, that suburban boring accent’ of a lower-class voice of sorts fits with exactly what they’re singing about. It is these influences, so clear in the lyrics which creates songs that would be found in the 80s nightlife, for example at a house party, as shown in the music video for Party Politics.
If there is any artists in the modern decade to create such nostalgic tunes reminiscent of comedy sitcoms, it is The Rhythm Method. Their single Home Sweet Home seems to capitalise on their entire appeal where Rowan explains to The Guardian that it is written ‘from the point of view of a 5am Uber after a damaging night out, an experience which we feel is fairly universal. So it seemed obvious to have Joey tell his story literally. For my choruses we wanted to include a combination of the London places we love warmly, Wandsworth Bridge, a favourite club in Holloway, with the cold stream of luxury that is replacing them all.’
This infusion of politics and sitcoms, of brutal honesty about the state of society and the detrimental nature of a Peter Pan generation, The Rhythm Method are honest, yet hiding behind this idea of nostalgia, when maybe they’re just singing about how things haven’t changed much at all.