24th July 2006 saw the release of ‘Style’, the second in a series of three Rank Deluxe 7”s, due out on FatCat over the summer months. As with previous single ‘Doll Queue’, the band take an audibly straightforward, no-nonsense, live approach to recording, committing themselves fully to the songs.
The band’s name is a quote from a glamour model overheard entering a strip club, above the bands old rehearsal space. "This place is so rank deluxe" she said; apparently she meant the height of scum. Drawn to the multiple implications, they took the phrase as their own. The band comprises four 20-somethings from South East London; Rich Buchanan on Lead Vocals, Lew Dyer on Lead Guitar, John Wallis on Bass, and Chris Ballard on Drums. Lew and Rich grew up on the same estate in Thamesmead, South East London, and the bands current line up formed early in 2005. The band refer to their music as “a sonic picture of council estate youth”. But what elsewhere often amounts to little more than posturing is here backed up by a strong sense of identity, and an aptitude and commitment beyond their short lifespan.
A somewhat atypical indie outfit by current standards, the band share as much of an affinity with Grime or Old School UK punk as they do with any of their more immediately apparent musical contemporaries. The band write music about life as young Londoners, using the subject matter of their own lives as inspiration. This single again highlights two sides of a fast-developing band – ‘Style’ is an irreverent call and response argument, unapologetically direct and full of it’s own conviction; ‘What Do You Want’ wears it’s origins on its sleeve in a slightly different manner; a full-blooded, more typically structured punk/pop slice of working class urban alienation. Those familiar with John Kennedy’s XFM show (London) may already be familiar with ‘Style’, as it’s been in heavy rotation in recent times (albeit in a slightly cleaner ‘in session’ form).
Informed by reggae, ska, punk, and rock and roll, The Rank Deluxe’s sound is assured, pop savvy and uncompromising in a forthright, unpretentious way. Varying in style from cathartic pop to stabby, dub rhythms, lyrically the band align themselves with the social commentary of UK-based artists such as The Specials, Gang of Four, or even Ian Dury. They follow their own ideas, and steer clear of fashion statements and stereotypes, preferring songs and shows to do the talking. Often playing amongst the crowd, shows are frenetic, full of youthful exuberance, and occasionally divisive, but always fun.