Possibly because the allure of the Stacey’s Mom video. Perhaps because Fountains of Wayne (FoW) absolutely dominated my new-found / re-energised love for power-pop. All I know is that 2004 Alex wanted more.
Having torrented the entire FoW catalogue and doing my best to cherry-pick the ‘best of’ for my 128mb mp3 stick (Stacey’s Mom did not make the cut – they were that good), I often found myself questing for the bands of a similar ilk. It was not uncommon for me to trace the lineage of bands I adored and subsequently enjoy their inspirations (Husker Du came to me via a Green Day interview, for instance).
This is how I came to find The Argument. However, not inspired by, but definitely born in the same snapshot of musical ethos and ingredients. Not as much Husker Du to Green Day, more Simple Plan to Good Charlotte. Nevertheless, 2004 Alex was on a random website where album torrents were requested. Amongst them, on my quest for more FoW was something like ‘anyone got recess serenade by the argument?’
Internet limits be dammed, my curiosity had me looking for more information. If the folks with FoW were chatting about this band, surely they had to be good? It was the very early days of actually getting music online and I found a website with a 15 second clip of lead single ‘Song One’. The chorus was candy to my ears and exactly what I wanted to have on my mp3 player in that moment.
Two slight problems – I had no way to buy things off the internet without asking my mother (I was 15/16) – and I had recently dyed my hair cosmic blue (purple) and she wasn’t massively a fan of that (or the towel and shower now being stained). Bugger.
It took a little while – but finally – someone had a torrent of the album. It took, I shit you not, a day to download. My countryside internet was hampered by the fact an asthmatic ant could have delivered information quicker. I’d have to judo-chop my sister if she dared try and use the computer while downloading.
Song One came crashing through my speakers – and I was hooked. Now in actual quality, the FoW style power-pop / bubblegum-pop sound morphing with an ode to The Pixies, laced with lyrics about trying to impress a girl with song-writing (only for it to fail) seemed to have been lifted from my own experience.
In the near 20 years following – that album file followed me from computer to computer, player to player. I NEVER owned a physical copy of the album outside of burning my own for cars. As time moved on, very little was every heard of from the band. Eventually, I just had this album like some kind of fever dream. Nobody remembered it but me.
In 2023, they just released new music (or rips – find it) but also committed the ultimate act of making it up to me for vanishing – releasing Recess Serenade on vinyl. As part of a limited run, I was elated to finally be able to commit this memory to physical form in my collection. The package came with;
– Recess Serenade on Vinyl
– Recess Serenade on CD
– Photos of the band from over the years
– An EP of more music
– Rare CD of Recess Serenade before release
There’s a version of this entry where I deep-dive every single note on each song and champion their craft. Instead, I would just invite you to seen Recess Serenade on your chosen streaming platform and enjoy a slice of nostalgia for a time you loved – with a new soundtrack (legitimately feel I am the UK fan-base).
More importantly, try and picture me with purple hair and an MP3 stick. Hideous.
Enjoy it all.