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Villain in the name of
One of their first gigs was supporting the much-missed Oppenheimer. Now The Wonder Villains are taking up that band’s synth-pop mantle. words Colin Carberry
Colin Carberry, 23 Oct 2012
The universe abhors a vacuum. If The Wonder Villains’ story is anything to go by, it isn’t too keen, either, on vacancies at the head of the Northern electro-pop table.
Those attending Oppenheimer’s final gig probably weren’t expecting to find their heirs buzzing around hyperactively at the bottom of the bill.
But when Rocky O’Reilly and Shaun Robinson advertised for an under-18 act to play at their all-ages farewell show, they were also (unwittingly) putting in place the sequence for a faultless succession.
“We always loved Oppenheimer,” reveals Wonder Villains lead singer and main songwriter Eimear Coyle. “And when the chance came to play at their goodbye concert, we were very excited. We couldn’t believe it when we were chosen. It was a brilliant gig, and afterwards we were pure buzzing. Then Rocky came running over to us, telling us how incredible he thought we were. And right there he asked us if he could be our manager. It was insane. And from that moment it hasn’t really slowed down.”
That’s very true: UK tours; statement gigs at SXSW and top of the bill at Glasgowbury, to say nothing of a brace of well-received EPs, have all rushed by in an 18-month blur. And the music they’ve been producing has had no trouble keeping pace. A sugar-rush of choruses and front-tumble licks, with lyrics celebrating the lives of four very ordinary late teens... The Wonder Villains are so consciously youthful, they make Ed Sheeran look like Seasick Steve.
Northern acts, of course, have great form with this kind of post-adolescent subject matter. So, two names will inevitably get mentioned in relation to the band.
“We wouldn’t mind that at all,” says Eimear’s brother, Kieran – the band’s drummer. “We’d be thrilled. The Undertones and Ash are two of our favourite groups.”
“We have some silly songs,” adds keyboard player Cheylene Murphy, “and sometimes I wonder – are we actually allowed to do this kind of stuff? Then I listen back to The Undertones and Ash, and when you see some of the things they wrote about, you think it can’t be that bad.”