Standard Fare may be named after a sign spotted on a bus, but the effect is anything but pedestrian – these Sheffield indie poppers are the kind of band whose name you’d happily scrawl on the cover of your school exercise book. A power trio comprising Emma Kupa, Danny How and Andy Beswick, they’re set to release their debut album, The Noyelle Beat,on Bar/None Records
Recorded in six days with an indie aesthetic that would have made John Peel proud, the album is named for a formative period in the band’s development when they travelled across the channel to play at a festival in Noyelles Sous Lens, France. “It was where we felt our sound came together,” says Danny, and the collection of songs they were playing became The Noyelle Beat.
What does The Noyelle Beat sound like? Packed with lovelorn tunes, youthful energy and Emma and Danny’s brilliantly balanced his ‘n’ hers vocals, that’s what. The album even displays a uniquely charming approach to world issues: “Global warming is getting me down / It’s making the sea between us wider and deeper,” sings Emma on Philadelphia. Elsewhere, 15 tells the story of a strange attraction for a 15 year-old. “Nothing happened!,” we’re reassured.
If that seems like slightly difficult territory, it’s part and parcel for a band whose lyrics put love lives to the fore. “Our main influences are relationships and experiences,” they say. “These songs are often what we wanted to say to someone at the time but couldn’t articulate. There is often a fine line in the nature of relationships and friendships. And there are many emotions and situations common to both. But since the songs are often based on true experiences it is good to retain some vagueness about who they are about.”
Standard Fare met when Danny (from Buxton) and Emma (from York) were playing in other groups as teenagers. When those projects fell apart, the pair resolved to work together, and poached Andy from Danny’s brother’s band. Early practices were held in Andy’s loft in Buxton, “and then in his Nan's living room when they got too loud.” Music is a family business for Emma too – her mother was in ‘80s anarcho-punks Poison Girls.
Since forming, Standard Fare have played in venues as varied as an old air-raid shelter and a 19th century manor house, released a single, Dancing, on Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation and picked up plays on BBC 6Music. With the album set for a March 2010 release, they’ll be hopping on a different kind of bus to tour the country in support.