The Tuts – Update Your Brain

This is the end of pop music. The Tuts are like the perfect band. They’re feminist, DIY, two of them are women of colour, and GOD do they write fine songs! Everyone else still in the game can call it quits. From Kate Nash to The Julie Ruin, they’ve been superseded. Shit, even Theresa May would immediately leave Downing Street if only someone would play her ‘Give Us Something Worth Voting For’. I haven’t been a fan of something in a long time – maybe never – but after Update Your Brain I am definitely a fan of The Tuts. And by that I mean a proper fan, in the sense of having a favourite Tut (Nadia), watching their hilarious video diaries (whose hair did clog the bathroom???), and of course singing along to all of the songs all of the time (TUT! TUT! TUT!).

I always thought the opposite of cute would be cool, but somehow The Tuts are both so now what? On the one hand, there’s the skirts and socks, the ubiquitous glitter, the infectious girl group melodies and its whole innocent aesthetic. An older song like ‘Do I Have to Look for Love?’, though admittedly less punk than anything on Update Your Brain, is almost a parody. But when you double-check, the description of that outfit is “Skirts n socks for 100% boner guarantee! Haha” and the lyrics to ‘Do I Have to Look for Love?’ are about smashing the patriarchy. The Tuts prove cute can rock too, especially, absolutely. They invert the trope of girl bands being called ‘cute’ (meaning: not to be taken seriously) and instead do not take ‘cute’ completely serious, mixing it up with punk and power. (And I do realise the irony of me singing along to ‘Dump Your Boyfriend’).

All tracks on Update Your Brain kick ass (even the acoustic ‘You’re So Boring’), but I’ll mention some of my extra-favourites. The track that gets me bouncing around the house is ‘Tut Tut Tut’, with that bass, the angry shouts (I wanna be at their gig and jump!), the bit where the instruments go silent and Nadia sings “Ladies you’re on first” that reminds me of Belle & Sebastian’s sad songs, even the breakbeat rap though I’m 100% unsure about it. Then there’s ‘Give Us Something Worth Voting For’, the most explicitly political track on here (but don’t even think for a second that any note played on Update Your Brain is not political). “People power / knock down Tory towers”, yes! I’d vote for The Tuts if I could. Of the tracks that we hadn’t heard before the release I like ‘Con Man’ most (or maybe ‘What’s On the Radio’), simply for their catchy sing-along quality.

And you might think that there are dozens of pop-punk bands writing catchy tunes like The Tuts. That Update Your Brain is merely our new crush of the week. But it’s not true. It’s a rare thing to find a band like The Tuts that is both politically engaged and writes killer song after killer song. And that’s the reason why they deserve all the praise they can get and then a bit more: because The Tuts are not only an incredible band (and I haven’t even seen them live yet!), but also an example for indie music as a whole. And Nadia, Harriet and Bev are doing an amazing job, cause it’s impossible to not like them. This is what Pitchfork et al should be writing about. This is what should inspire the kids at school. This is what 21st century indie pop looks like. Or should.  So: The Tuts for WORLD DOMINATION!

-- Caspar Jacobs, September 9, 2016