Tim Thornton - Death of an Unsigned Band (3 stars)

Tim Thornton - Death of an Unsigned Band

(Jonathan Cape)

The internal wranglings of unsigned indie bands is fertile territory for dramatic tension, as well as self-aware comedy, and so it is with this second novel from Tim Thornton, a veteran of plenty contract-free groups himself, apparently. Our bandmates in question are arrogant singer Jake, laidback drummer Ash, ice-cool bassist Karen and anally-retentive guitarist and songwriter Russell. While he is the driving force of the band, Russell’s musical vision struggles to achieve reality at a string of shitty gigs and fraught rehearsals.

When the band replace one asshole singer with another and enlist bullshit-monger manager Barry, things seem to be taking a turn for the better finally. Thornton evokes the atmosphere and music well enough, but there’s not a whole lot pushing the narrative forward, and in the end his protagonist is a tad dull and safe, making it hard to care much one way or the other.


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