2 Steps Forward, 3 Steps Back: Delving into the past, Forging the future

We're in the middle of a media mishap, a recession-induced havoc. Earlier this year, The Enemy and Gallows produced two iron-fisted, economy-bashing records that have since sunk into the abyss of irrelevance, soon to wind up on Amazon for peanuts. All that success must be saved away some place or other for a dismal, stereotypically British rainy day. But where?

Well, as per annum, a shedload of UK born-and-bred flag bearers have dished out essential listening. A common trend coarsing through their veins however? A time-travelling venture into the occassionally Great, often mundane, Known. Manic Street Preachers' Journal For Plague Lovers spewed a vital blast from beyond Richie Edwards' metaphysical grave as refreshing as drinking Ocean Spray for once without the added Smirnoff. Or anti-aging cream. Not so much delving into the past as trudging perpetually over the surreal plateau they've inhabited for decades are fellow Welshmen Super Furry Animals whilst U2, well apparently the formula still works...

Where true artistic value and merit has been garnered is in a reconstruction of the record collection and the smashing of detrimental stereotype. Now, Strange House from once Southend goth sippers and swiggers The Horrors was a perplexing listen that vexed many beyond compatibility. Their returning effort Primary Colours was as make or break as a Wimbledon set point, yet simulating every reverb-doused psychedelic growl contained within organist-turned-bassist Spider/ Rhys (depending on which schizophrenic Horrors personality you run with) Webb's weird and wonderful vinyl cellars turned out to be a returning to the fray from their recently dug open grave. An inspired move, taking in the supernatural sixties sounds of Suicide and Paul St John, the unnerving vocal asymmetry of Silver Apples and enough pedals to rival Jesus and Mary Chain staring intently at Paris Hilton's house of shoes. Where the saplings of inspired intervention have flourished as on opener Mirror's Image, Faris & co triumph and give or take the odd angsty spoken-word interlude dropping his Peaches out of the favour tree, it works.

Similarly, Golden Silvers bought a return ticket, stopping off at verging on every musical trend and synth shop through the ages. Bowie balladry, falsetto funk via barbershop quartets and electropop drum pads. True Romance may at first appear to be a tad on the flimsy side with lyrics about as far removed from reality as Lady Gaga, concerning seemingly distant dialogues and dilemmas, there's enough nods to the majestic marvels of decades past to keep Churchill quoting and quoting for centuries to come. Oh and it's their debut so they've yet to tarnish the discography. Elsewhere, where once the mere sight of Jack Peñate's studded ears and foppish fringe made me want to seek compensation for every East London excursion and throw up every last late night Brick Lane bagel, Everything Is New vaguely lives up to its radical title. Only Vampire Weekend kinda got there first, albeit the Ivy League take on afropop. Set recent single Be The One against Spit At Stars and it's like comparing the treasured fluorescent inaccurate pencil drawings of a four year-old with the photos of one of those snobby freelance photographers who moan and groan in festival photo pits over obstructions to their colossal lenses and crowd interaction all summer long. Highs and lows, swings and roundabouts but So Near is the track I never saw in Peñate's heart and however much I wanted to shoot down the promo copy of the album like a clay pigeon, I couldn't.

So for quite which era next year's guitar slingers and keytar tinkerers will set their coordinates, who can say. Maybe Arctic Monkeys will ditch the Elvis echoes and vouch for Venetian lutes whilst Panic At The Disco will return bashing sticks and stones (if they ever resurface...looks unlikely...) but for the moment, where Ray Davies once questioned where all the good times had gone, they were back there all along. They just needed a dust-down.