They're collective - not a cult - and your arty indie friends like them. SACHA BLACKBURN talks to Harrow natives Jenny and James Robottom from The New Southpaw Soviet about what makes good music, instruments and Radiohead
WHAT do you get if you cross a charity press officer, a human rights watcher, an artist, a physics teacher and a trainee barrister? No, not another hilarious BBC sitcom. You get The New Southpaw Soviet.
Created by brother sister duo Jenny and James Robottom, the Carpenters they ain't.
The siblings think REM, The Stone Roses and The Smiths are great. A chasm opens when Bjork rears her tiny Icelandic head into conversation: Jenny says she's good, James says she's bad.
James likes Radiohead more than Jenny and thinks the Beatles "write something so complicated it's simple".
Jenny unknowingly echoes the idea: "We try to put lots of ideas into songs with the aim of people not really noticing."
Knowledgeable James explains music like bandmate Isabel, the physics teacher, might explain the Large Hadron Collider.
Jenny played Lionel Richie on the flute at Harrow School for Young Musicians each Saturday morning during her teens and used to be in a band that supported Mogwai.
The New Southpaw Soviet, an all left-handed fivesome who have been together for four years, tell me they like to do entertaining covers live sometimes.
They know things I don't, like how to write a melody, what a dominant 7th is and why nobody else can imitate the opening of The Smith's Bigmouth Strikes Again.
They use lots of 'proper' instruments like flutes, violas and clarinets and, unusually, four of them sing. I like them, and so, apparently, does The Guardian.
The New Southpaw Soviet have recorded four songs as a demo and want to get signed. Then they want to make an album that's either more or less obscure than Radiohead's Kid A, depending on who you ask, Jenny or James. [25cf] Visit their website at www.myspace.com/thenewsouthpaw
The New Southpaw Soviet are:
Jenny Robottom: vocals, bass, guitar, flute, piano
Jim Robottom: vocals, guitar
Alex Rennie: vocals, guitar
Isabel Why: vocals, viola, clarinet, photons, accordian, guitar
Ben Rawlence: vocals, drums, percussion