Thank goodness for small favors. The Sheffield, England-based rock quartet Blameless has gone beyond the “flavor of the month” club and mercifully escaped the wrath of the British music media.
“We haven’t been slagged, let’s put it that way,” guitarist Matt Pirt said recently. “The British press are okay with us; we’ve always gotten really good reviews.”
Blameless is harmless enough. Their no-frills, songs-come-first sound goes from energetic rock excursions to compressed pop tracks on their debut China/Atlantic album, “The Signs Are All There,” recorded last year at Fort Apache Studios in Boston and overseen by producers Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole, Dinosaur Jr., Juliana Hatfield).
But don’t try lumping them in with the so-called new British invasion, led by the suddenly platinum Oasis.
“There’s been fads, but we’re not part of them,” Pirt said. “There have been a lot more bands before the likes of us and Oasis. But I will say this, the more the British bands that sort of get through the doors certainly helps. It gives us a chance to come across and display our wares, and if you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you don’t.
“… But I like you’ll like us.”
Blameless formed out of pub-born dreams in 1993 when friends Pirt, singer Jared Daley, bassist Jason Leggatt and drummer Jon Dodd had visions of tweaking British pop traditions a bit.
“We just wanted to release our songs and hopefully get accepted by the public,” Pirt said. “I think that’s every band’s goal, really, just to get the material out to people and try to impress and if it works, all well and good.
“And it’s really nice to have that opportunity, because I’ve seen a lot of my friends be in bands and struggling along and never seemed to get signed. It’s nice to get signed and have someone have faith in you.”
The tart and tuneful “Town Clowns” was a Top 10 indie track in England and is the band’s first U.S. single, and not surprisingly, the British press have confused them with American bands.
“Most of the reviews have compared us to R.E.M. and Pearl Jam, which you can’t complain about because they’re some of the biggest bands in the world,” Pirt said. “We haven’t been compared to Oasis, which is a blessing in disguise, I think. I would rather be shipped in with the likes of R.E.M. and Pearl Jam than Oasis and Blur. They’re far better songwriters.”