BEST NEW BAND - 2003
24 Hour Party People
When 24 Hour Party People resurrected Ian Curtis only to let him hang himself on the big screen, the death was a sign of a genre reborn. Already, throngs of Anglophilic nostalgists were following the Madchester-aping dirge of Interpol and Radio Vago. And come 2003, the great Revision of Joy Division wrought Minneapolis's own Revolver, who sound like the happiest band ever to idolize a suicidal singer. Frontman Ehsan Alam's darkly optimistic baritone, which warbles like a 45 record played at 33 speed, suggests that even when he's lying on a bed of razor blades, he's still gazing up at the constellations. And judging by the gothic romanticism of Mike Arnold's jaggedly amorphous guitar, Natasha Hasset's StairMaster-steady bass, and drummer Jesse Winsell's "Be My Baby" boom-bap, you can bet on the names of the stars Alam sees: Peter Murphy, Ian McCulloch, William and Jim Reid. Still, as one of their fans puts it, this isn't just a cover band that doesn't play covers. Alam may confess, "I don't know who I am anymore," on "Shake Me Gently, I'm Still Breathing," but thankfully, this talented guy's also modest enough to know exactly who he's not: Ian Curtis.