Now that the wall between rock purism and the digital dancefloor has been reduced to mere rubble, a suite of newer, harder, brighter, faster bands are getting down to the business at hand: having a good time. Here, Does It Offend You, Yeah? brings of a steamroller of rum, synth riffs, and screeching punk rhythms.
The first music that Reading, England’s James Rushent and Dan Coop made together was a dangerously caffeinated electro experiment thrown together on an old bedroom computer that made awful beeps. They then released the noise on a humble MySpace page for their mates to enjoy under the name Does It Offend You, Yeah?, a phrase they heard someone say on TV. Not long after, Rushent and Coop had a Sony BMG contract, recruited two more members (drummer Rob Bloomsfield and American Morgan Quaintance, who plays guitar, keyboards, and sings) at a pub, and found themselves performing for thousands at Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival. Bassist/vocalist Rushent compares the entire experience to “walking around in a haze,” saying that he was in disbelief until he found himself in a major label office. “I didn’t really believe it until they played one of our tunes and nodded along to it, smiling,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, they actually do mean us!’”
DIOYY’s electro-rock sound exists in a gray area where a surly and distorted synthesizer matters as much as a Fender coughing up feedback. While they share the hedonism and bombast of French electro (Daft Punk, Justice, the Ed Banger label), their on-stage moxie (fueled by a good bottle of rum) aims to one-up any rock band. This is best encapsulated on their single “We Are Rockstars,” which grinds up asthmatic synth riffs, garbled robotic vocals, and stumbling punk rhythms, and reeks of a hundred party crashers shoved into a living room. “We just want people to have some fun at the shows–drink a load of beers and jump around,” says Coop, who plays keyboards. “We really feed off the audience reaction so we go out there to steamroller people and get them involved.”
One peculiar moment on their aptly titled debut album, You Have No Idea What You Are Getting Yourself Into, is the garage-rock romp “Attack of the 60 Ft Lesbian Octopus.” Rushent admits that the band was fighting off the ghosts of Seattle grunge and The B-52’s when they were writing it. “We started off trying to rip off Nirvana,” Rushent offers, “and then we had to restrain ourselves from playing ‘Rock Lobster.’”