Thursday, May 21, 2009

Glorious fun!

They do everything so well, these 17 Hippies, writing songs with memorable melodies that they sing effortlessly in German, French or English. And yet they remain unnoticed in the background, championed by nobody, unloved and unwanted. How could that be?

...... So let’s get things straight. They don’t play electric guitars and there aren’t exactly 17 of them – there could be more, but usually less than ten members go on tour. They’re not hippies, either, although they are based in Berlin, perhaps the last European city where a free-floating community of artists, writers and musicians can find apartments with rents so low, it’s possible to follow your instincts and not surrender to commercial requirements.

But there’s a deeper problem holding back 17 Hippies. They sound as if they enjoy themselves, as if they don’t take themselves too seriously. And that can cause problems for music journalists and reviewers, who prefer to find angst in the lives and songs of their targeted musicians. But while it’s true that there’s a light, open atmosphere to the sound of 17 Hippies, most of their songs have a rueful and even melancholic tone. There’s more here than first meets the ear.

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