After the very necessary short sharp shock delivered by The Strokes and The White Stripes the previous year, 2002 saw this whole new rock revolution business stretch its wings, diversify and prove it had the staying power to become the defining sound of the decade. Thankfully, the NME was on trend (perhaps for the last time to date), offering us its New Rock Revolution compilation which rounded up new tracks by bands including Ikara Colt, Burning Brides and The Cooper Temple Clause.
We got more than our fair share of basic, primal balls-out rock ‘n’ roll in 2002 and we loved it. It came from all directions: the swampy, druggy rock of Queens of the Stone Age, the Stones-worshipping head-shake of The Datsuns, the grungey primal scream of The Vines. And, of course, there was The Libertines, who swiftly metamorphosed from a cult band into, well, something close to an actual cult after releasing their first, greatest album, Up the Bracket.
As ever, we should take a moment to look at the music which happened on the fringes, such as Asa Chang & Junray’s seriously odd Jun Ray Song Chang, a sci-fi mix of orchestral music, cut up vocals, traditional Japanese percussion and fizzing electronics which has to be heard to be believed. Then there was the sumptuous, otherworldly folktronica of Boards of Canada’s second album Geogaddi, a record so expansive and all-encompassing you just wanted to climb inside and snuggle up in its warm psychedelic folds.
Meanwhile, fans of the dark stuff breathed an epic sigh of relief as Liars and Interpol arrived to finally reclaim rock’s right to be complex, shadowy, weird and just plain disturbing. Brooklyn’s Radio 4 – one of the first in a now seemingly endless lineage of ridiculously cool Brooklyn bands – followed much the same path but got us to dance to the darkness, as did The Rapture with the splintered, splenetic mutant disco of ‘House of Jealous Lovers’, released as a double a-side alongside LCD Soundsystem’s fearsome and witty ‘Losing My Edge’. Time for heroes, indeed.