The Jeevas - Manchester Academy 3 - 13.3.03

How can you possibly make a comeback from being the most hated man in Britain? It's a position that none of us would want to be in and just 12 months ago the return of Crispian Mills would have ranked several places below that of Darius and scouse popstar Sonia. The problem was that he didn't just put himself up for a simple ribbing on Have I Got News For You - when he announced misguidedly that "the swastika is a symbol of peace" he became the most hated figure in planet pop and from that moment Kula Shaker's fate was signed, sealed and delivered. But after several line-up changes and tours with Pi and a personal request from Robbie Williams to open up for him on his last arena tour it seems like Mills has been speaking to the gods.

The Jeevas are damn near the most perfect rock & roll band Britain has right now and the only band we have that can compete with the Vines and the Strokes. Gone are the public school affectations and Eastern Mysticism that clouded Kula Shaker and in is an altogether more relaxed frontman who jokes that he's been learning Anthrax tunes all day (Ed: They're playing in the Academy 2 below fact fans) and dedicates "Once Upon A Time In America" to Michael Moore and Joe Strummer. Stripped down to a 3 piece encompassing ex-members of Indie underdogs Straw the album "1234" has the sort of songs which make Kula Shaker look like a shoddy they're even better which makes the inclusion of "303", "Hush" and "Hey Dude" a nice gesture if a little unnecessary. Dipping into the past they rewrite the Beatles "Don't Let Me Down" on "What Is It More?", twist nursery rhymes into philosophical statements on "Edge Of The World", update "You've Got My Number" for the noughties and manage to successfully wipe any trace of cynicism with each successive song.

If new song "I Can't Feel My Legs" is an indication of what's to come with the second album then it can only be a matter of time before the Jeevas truly capture the hearts of the nation. There's no doubting it's going to be a hard struggle with the weight of the media fighting them all the way, but the truth is with the exception of the notorious statement, Mills was one of the few people in the Britpop scene who possessed a modicum of intelligence. What Crispian really needs to do though is abandon all his ties with Kula Shaker, get out on the road with a high profile support slot and play to a younger audience with open ears and open hearts who will simply judge the songs on their own merits without any of the baggage of his previous bands. It's only at this point that the Jeevas are truly going to achieve the success they deserve and it would be a terrible shame if a band of this quality simply ended up with a cult following when they could be playing stadiums.

Alex McCann

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