[11 June 2003]

By Thomas Patterson


Best New British Band to Have Every Single Person in the Record Industry Across the UK Slavering

The place—The Coachella Festival, Indio, California, April 2003. The bill—a reformed Iggy and the Stooges, the White Stripes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Beastie Boys, and 22-20s. Eh? 22-20s? Who the hell are 22-20s? Well they’re a recently signed trio of righteously retro teenagers from Lincoln who stir the psychedelic blues of Clapton’s Cream into the Mississippi of Johnson’s soul. Which is Delta-rific but how in the devil at the crossroads did a bunch of unknown English whippersnappers playing patented Leadbelly riffs end up appearing alongside a selection of certified stadium superstars at a major festival on the other side of the world? It could have something to do with how they take the oldest music in the book, spit fresh chewin’ tobacco all over it, and make it sound so vital and alive that it’s difficult to even get into their British shows anymore thanks to the hordes of A&R men waving checkbooks under their noses. It could also have to do with the fact that none of the members would look too out of place in the Strokes. Either way, once you’ve seen the band play live it all becomes clear why critics are bandying around rock compliments like ‘scuzzy sleazy heirs of Jimi Hendrix’ when talking about these young prodigies.

Fronted by singer/guitarist Marin Trimble, a man old beyond his callow years, 22-20s first showcased their brand of Northern English blues to a UK wide audience whilst supporting Supergrass on a recent tour. A triumphant appearance supporting Starsailor at a recent NME Awards Show (London breaking ground for the Strokes and the Faint in past years) reaffirmed their promise; their raw, no frills mash of Canned Heat and Muddy Waters led to a furious bidding war between record labels desperate to sign the next White Stripes. The independent imprint Heavenly recently won the battle but not before the lads released their own seven-inch single Such a Fool. A great slab of swirling psyche rock that sounds as if it was recorded in a wind tunnel, Such a Fool has proven to be a useful (albeit strictly limited) calling card ahead of both the Coachella Festival and this season’s headlining tour of Britain. Still, the hype machine has yet to roll into full effect and over the next few months, 22-20s will find their faces splashed all over the British press. Such early attention has killed lesser bands in the past but 22-20s have the skills and promise to suggest that they’ll survive and thrive on the adulation and pressure. The future’s bright for these boys who look to the past, so check them out before everybody wants a piece of their down home dirty blues.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/030611-now-2220s/