Self described “purveyors of brotherly harmonies and rude guitar playing”, Icons of Elegance have been creating pristine guitar pop for quite some time now, and five albums in are shoiwng no sign of stopping any time soon.
New single ‘What Are You Waiting For‘ was released last week. Discussing the track, the band said “This is something as unfashionable as a middle-aged band writing songs about death and growing old and ugly. But we’re quite unapologetic about that. We listened to Natalie Imbruglia and Eagle Eye Cherry when we made the record. We’re also unapologetic about that.” So we thought we’d catch up with them and find out more about their shame free 90s guilty pleasures. One of half of the duo, Henri Vaxby, kindly obliged.
For the first time in a long time mainstream 90s guitar pop sounds fresh again. So, these are guilty pleasures, yes, but also something we’re quite unapologetic about. In some cases they were a direct influence and you can hear it in the end result if you know where to listen. In others, it’s just something that set us off in one direction before we veered off somewhere else.
Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much
Our producer Mikko Gordon brought this to the table and I guess this is where us referencing all this 90s stuff took off.
Henri did a short stint as a security guard in Woolworths when this came out, so heard this all day every day whilst high/nauseous from the smell of the pick’n’mix. Never caught anyone though.
Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight
The mother of all positive-sounding, indie-lite anthems of the 90s with a chorus you can’t get out of your head. Some of that busy bassline and strumming on a Strat probably made its way onto our single as well.
Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
Not entirely sure we listened to this at all, but no 90s soft-major-label-wannabe-indie playlist would be complete without this, so surely it must have been there at the back of our minds.
Garbage – Stupid Girl
Something about that guitar break before the chorus in ‘What Are You Waiting For’ made us think of this.
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
Caroline Polachek – So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings
These two songs are actually what we set out to do initially. We were going for a more modern pop feel, but with some of those lush 80s synths and Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar sounds for the riff. Arguably Caroline Polacheck ripped off – or is it updated – Fleetwood Mac, so it definitely made sense to us. As it goes, ‘What Are You Waiting For’ sounds nothing like these two songs, but there you go.
Introduction by Paul Maps