The Tunics

the tunics
Courtesy of The Tunics

“If it cuts like a knife I will kill you where you stand,” snarls Joe Costello, lead singer and guitarist of The Tunics in the chorus of “A Winter’s Tale,” a torrid tale of a love triangle that meets a violent end. Violent lyrically as well as stylistically, the fiery Britpop trio roars through the anthemic rock songs of its 2007 debut release Somewhere in Somebody’s Heart. Though the band has been relentlessly compared to the genre’s vaunted quartet, The Arctic Monkeys, it is more sophisticated, darker and scarier than even its chilly contemporary’s Favourite Worst Nightmare.

Rather than lamenting the failed love of fluorescent adolescents, The Tunics’ lyrics center on members’ experiences growing up amidst the rise of knife and gang culture in the dodgy underbelly of London. “But I know where I can came from, the land of weapons and fists / I understand the power of song, and that dreams are made of this,” croons Costello on the track “Shine On,” imparting his faith that music can overcome circumstance.

But the thematic frustration with gang violence comes to a furious head on the following track “In The City.” Costello takes out his exasperation on his guitar as he whips and thrashes through the opening power chords. As Costello’s voice cuts in, he describes the plight of a kid who goes out to the club on a Friday night only to be violently mugged at knifepoint. “What can you do when you know he carries a knife?” Costello asks in the chorus, and quips sarcastically, “But that’s the price you pay for having fun.”

Instead of the adolescent laments of unrequited love and growing pains that provide the fodder for the ditties of other Britpop bands, The Tunics conquer a more serious subject matter with feverish passion, sophistication and devilish wit.

—By Blog Editor Alex Blum

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