With the formation of the McBusted super group in 2013 and the subsequent reformation of the original Busted trio that followed in 2015, hearing those faux American accents infiltrating the mainstream yet again has sent us on a serious nostalgia trip and brought to the forefront of our minds the lost treasures of mid-naughties English pop-punk.
With it being such a niche genre – and one that is famed for its participants exasperatingly short life spans – you would be forgiven for having forgotten some of these fallen heroes. So, spike up your hair, throw on some three-quarter length skater shorts and allow me to refresh your memory.
Son Of Dork
Following the premature demise of Busted in 2005, vocalist/guitarist James Bourne went on to establish a new project in the same year under the name Son of Dork – a name that was derived from the 1990 film Problem Child.
During their short lifespan, Son of Dork one-upped Busted in the heart-breakingly small discography department by producing just one album. Welcome to Loserville performed exceptionally well in the UK Singles Chart, with leading track ‘Ticket Outta Loserville’ reaching number three in November 2005 and second single ‘Eddie’s Song’ hitting number ten the following January. In terms of longevity, ‘Welcome to Loserville’ poses as a forgotten artefact that more people need to dust off and bask in the glory of every now and again. Riddled with pop culture references, it is a timeless classic that deserves to be adored just as much as the movies and TV shows it alludes to.
In 2007, during an extensive period of inactivity, the band members started dropping off like flies, telling similar tales of dissatisfaction and frustration as a result of not doing anything. Later, the tale of Loserville was adapted from CD to stage in the form of Loserville: The Musical, in the true American Idiot fashion.
Elliot Minor were truer to their dreary English heritage with their goth-pop style and themes, which made them stand out in a sea of summery guitar licks.
Formed in York, Elliot Minor had their big break in 2006 supporting McFly in Manchester after winning a MySpace competition. They are one of the rare few British pop-punkers to have made it beyond their debut, having put out a grand total of three albums throughout their extensive career. Their most memorable single ‘Parallel Worlds’ was also their debut, whose re-release peaked at number 22 in the UK Singles Chart. It perfectly foreshadowed what was in store for Elliot Minor fans, cementing in that trademark sound for which they were famed.
In 2011, the band went on to pursue separate projects both in and out of the music universe, leaving Elliot Minor hanging in the limbo of an indefinite hiatus for the best part of three years. They reformed briefly for a one off show in 2014 and released a new song ‘All My Life’ before retreating back into the shadows.
The Noise Next Door
Remember when rebellious red spiked hair was synonymous with The Noise Next Door? The Sutton triplets who completed the band’s line-up undoubtedly do. From Asda shelf-stackers to chart infiltrating pop-rockers, the Leigh Park lads’ lives transformed overnight after being discovered by John McLaughin in 2004. By October of the same year, the brothers had released their first single which cheekily warned fathers to ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’. The track reached a respectable number twelve on the UK Singles Chart – kind of ironic for a band with such a rebellious wardrobe.
In May of 2005, the boys sheared their trademark locks in favour of a more mature look, but the extinguishing of the famed flamed hair saw fires in other departments get unwillingly snuffed out. Unfortunately, although a debut album had been recorded, what would have been called ‘Play It Loud’ never made it to the shelves.
Back in 2008, just about every tween girl had a monumental crush on Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging star Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played a fictional bassist in a very real band. It was the film that gave the Stiff Dylans their big break, featuring a cover of the Buzzcocks’ ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ as well as the original ‘Ultraviolet’ which was used as the film’s main theme song and reached number 41 in the UK charts. Since then, ‘Ultraviolet’ has become somewhat of a cult classic – an anthem for the adolescent school of ‘08.
Sadly, although it seems as though the Stiff Dylans are still lingering around, they only put out a string of songs with no album to show for it. It’s as shame, but any further output might have damaged the magic of their cult classic status.
London-based band Go:Audio were unique in their blending of pop punk with electropop vibes, creating a sound that was both recognisable within the genre and set them apart from the rest.
Yet another wearer of the ‘we supported McFly badge’, Go:Audio made their album debut with ‘Made Up Stories’ in May 2008 which was met by favourable reviews. The leading track – from which the album got its name – charted at number 33 in the UK Singles Chart and things were looking promising for the group, but by November of the same year they were already calling it a day. Fortunately, some good came of the split as front man James Matthews teamed up with Elliot Minor drummer Dan Hetherton to form The Dead Famous.
Yet another member of the one album club is Hertfordshire’s own Saving Aimee, a band that were active for four years between 2005 and 2009.
Saving Aimee were probably most famed for their excessive touring, having played with a vast range of artists including McFly (shocker), Fightstar, Simple Plan, Funeral For A Friend and The Blackout, to name but a few. Somewhere in their busy schedule, they managed to find the time to record their debut album ‘We’re the Good Guys’ which was produced by Justin Hawkins of The Darkness. Their first single ‘Small Talk’ is what they are mainly remembered for, since the song was hammered by Kerrang! Radio prompting roughly 20,000 people to download it.
Anecdote time: Twenty Twenty was this writer’s first real gig (not counting S Club 7 circa 2002). They were a London based trio who supported a wealth of extremely poppy acts, including The Saturdays, Selena Gomez and Big Time Rush – but don’t worry, they redeem some punk credit for having also played with (you guessed it) McFly.
The boys self-released two EPs ‘Forever’ and ‘Raise Your Hands’ in 2009 and then ‘Worlds Apart’ in 2010. Unlike the vast majority of English pop-punk bands, they survived the release of their debut ‘Small Talk’ (2010) and went on to release their second full length album ‘25th Hour’ in 2012. But alas, being English and in a pop-punk band, their streak had to end somewhere soon, so Twenty Twenty called in quits in 2014 following the departure of their drummer Sonny Watson-Lang.
There is definitely a pattern when it comes to naughties English pop-punk bands, it is just a shame that, due to their short lifespans, such fallen heroes have become fossilized and neglected in our memories. However, given the success of the Busted reunion, perhaps we might start see more bands making a comeback. If not, at least we will have the internet to feed our nostalgia.
Has this article sent you on a nostalgia trip or have you, like me, been jamming to these bands for the last decade?