Brash and unafraid of confrontation, the British gritty-rock quartet XC-NN means business with its self-titled debut album on 550 Music/Epic, due Sept. 13.
Formed by ex-All About Eve/Sisters of Mercy guitarist Tim Bricheno, the band immediately locked horns with corporate America when it used CNN as its original name. Ted Turner’s lawyers got wind of it and demanded the four either disband or change their name.
“We wanted a name everybody already knew,” said singer David Tomlinson, “and we went through all sorts of products – cereals, beans. CNN has more of a ring to it than Heinz and it’s one of the most pervasive things around in modern society.”
With a simple “X” marking the spot, they became known as Clearly Nothing New, XC-NN for short.
Their first single, “Young, Stupid & White,” took a swing at pop complacency and mediocrity, and to add insult to injury, they used the images of Suede’s Brett Anderson, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall and ’70s retro band Jamiroquai emblazoned with the song title in a London poster campaign.
“The song and the campaign challenge the pomposity of rock ‘n’ roll,” said drummer Neill Lambert.
Isn’t XC-NN falling prey to rock cliches? “Well, we definitely play around with it,” Lambert said, “but I think there’s a sort of cynicism is what we’re doing. If you were going to pick out the worst offenders, as it were, there could be a few people you could pick on before you got to us.”
In its press kit, XC-NN provides a slew of useful adjectives to describe itself: nasty, pneumatic, frenetic, inscrutable, emotional, inevitable. Its brand of grinding guitar rock is equally infectious.
The band’s manifesto? “Follow your head and not your heart,” Bricheno said.
BWF (before we forget): The XC-NN album disography – “XC-NN” (550 Music/Epic); “Lifted” (1996).
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