Thursday, June 20 2024

The Fades have just done something incredible. Something I didn’t think possible and certainly something I’d not anticipate on a Tuesday. Nothing good ever happens on a Tuesday. They used to call it ‘Suicide Tuesday;’ that period after the weekend when you realise you acted like an idiot, chatted absolute nonsense and have to navigate 4 full days before you hit ‘repeat.’ The. Slow. Creeping. Death. BUT, this wonderful 4-piece from ‘The Big Smokes’ (London to the universally uniformed), have resorted my equilibrium, my faith in humanity and myself, with the understatedly brilliant, ‘Looking for Keanu.‘ 

Following a rather heavy/heady weekend in Munich, where sleep was at a premium, I tentatively navigated the early part of the week with cautious suspicion only to be spiritually restored/rejuvenated, delivered from the very depths of Hades, by a rasping slice of college-rock/slacker-rock (delete as applicable), on a Tuesday!

Why, you may well inquire, did such a self-effacing piece of throwaway alt-rock revive me? Because, my pedigree chums, Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’ is one of the finest albums penned of the post-grunge generation. It’s a work of art and I’m convinced will be held in high-regard for generations to come. In fact, it’s the post-grunge ‘Sergeant Pepper;’ easily in my top 10 albums of all time. It’s also almost 30 years, to the day, of its release and The Fades have released something that could grace that record. It’s good. It’s very good. It’s whimsical, humorous and packs a patented Weezer kick. As well as a sing-a-long chorus that Rivers Cuomo could have scribed.

Now I know you’ve come to expect a certain level of depth when it comes to my reviews; chord sequences, structures, melody and form et a la, but I’m going to refrain from all that, because, ‘Looking for Keanu’ is too damn good, too pure, too entertaining and too ‘devil-my-care’ to indulge in anything of that nature. It strips down music, compartmentalises, and often reduces it to just maths. Anyone with ears can hear how and why this works. Honestly, listen to it, you know I’m right.


This is anything but a simple, linear, binary structured song, but its complexities are buried, subtly hidden in plain sight; it doesn’t thrust them upon you and that’s a thing I loved about Weezer, but also transitional phase Feeder, who this also reminds me of. The same, almost child-like phrasing from ‘Looking for Keanu’ can be found on ‘Sweater Song;’ staccato, flat melodic-contour etc, it almost downplays the nuanced intricacies, what’s really happening, and evokes a more simplistic and innocent time, when divorces and mortgages weren’t even in your lexicon. It’s very clever, very diverting.

I won’t sully this song with anymore technicalities, other than stating that the production is perfect; crystal clear, perfect balance and separation, the guitars fuzzed, compressed an EQ’d to perfection yada yada. It’s top quality. 

I usually conduct these reviews with guitar in hand and play along; studiously dissecting and making notes. After the first 8 bars I put the guitar down, smiled, felt the hairs on my arms stand to attention and just listened. Listened as someone listens to music without any bias, nor anything more than a rudimentary understanding; for sheer enjoyment. Because sometimes, it can take you back to simpler times. It can resonate. It can be something incredible without having any sense of self-awareness.

The more you learn about music the less you have that sense of wide-eyed wonder. Its purity, its innocence is almost lost on you, but from time to time you’re there again; the reason you love music, the first time you heard ‘that’ band/song that started this lifelong love affair. It’s there, right in front of you, so close you can almost feel every beat. The Fades reminded me of that and I’ll be forever indebted to them.

So, let’s just enjoy this for what it is; a fun song, a throwaway classic, a slice of nostalgia; call it what you will, but I absolutely adore it. We all love the ’90s, don’t we? It was the last truly great musical decade. Keanu Reeves was arguably the biggest star of that decade and continues to be a stellar human and all-round dude. Who’d not want to meet him? 

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About Author

Gareth Johnston

Gareth Johnston is a Lancashire based musician and producer who studied music at MMU. He is a former reviewer for 'Glitzine' and when not writing for 'The Indie Grid' can be found restoring old furniture whilst listening to obscure alt-rock. He has too many favourite bands to pick one and insists it's easier to pick a favourite child.

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