Fast Forward: An Indie Music Companion To World Cup 2010 [The Group Stages]

Yes folks – now is the time – the time to be excited about the World Cup. Now is the time for hope, before the inevitability of England bowing out (on penalties) in the Quarter Finals, and Brazil narrowly overcoming Spain and going on to lift the trophy for the umpteenth (OK, sixth) time.

Now is also the season to avoid World Cup songs like the pustulent plague that they are. So exactly why someone has gone out of their way to compile 32 songs together [one for each of the competing nations] is beyond me. I don’t want to listen to this rubbish more than I absolutely have to, so I’ve devised a plan. I’m going to listen to each song in each of the eight Groups as they appear in the World Cup draw. Two songs from each group will qualify for the knock-out stages, going head-to-head until we have the official World Cup Indie Song Champion. Who knows? It might even be a halfway decent tune…

If you want to join in, the album in its entirety is available to listen live at:

Group A

1) Cop On The Edge – Bafana Bafana (RSA) sounds like an appalling out-take from ‘Talking Heads’. Claims they will ‘win for Charlize Theron’ are not based in fact.

2) Standard Fare – Vaya Vaya México! (MEX) ‘Standard Fare’ have virtually no musical talent, and finished rock-bottom of this group.

3) Showstar – Uruguay! (URU) has a catchy chorus, with bonus points for the only word in it being ‘Uruguay’.

4) The Very Most – Irlande (FRA) clearly heads this group, sounding like ‘Ennio Morricone’ meets ‘Fleet Foxes’.

Qualified: FRA, URU

Group B

5) The Dirty 9s – Ballad of El Diego (ARG) rubbish operatic vocals outline how Argentina won’t lie down for anyone.

6) Grand Pocket Orchestra – Nigeria (NGA) sounds like a Christmas song from a Hollywood movie. It’s great.

7) Pearse McGloughlin – Jongmyo Shrine (KOR) cheesy piano and vocals, but a plucky outsider.

8) At Last An Atlas – The Pirate Ship (GRE) too empty, too long and too repetitive.

Qualified: NGA, KOR

Group C

9) Detox Cute – St George’s Day (ENG) vomit-worthy, sappy, clichéd. The use of the ‘war’ metaphor is a serious own-goal.

10) Echo Orbiter – Game Without A Name (USA) an odd, cacophonic entry with too many poorly worked samples.

11) Boca Chica – Wildlife of Algeria (ALG) it’s through purely because (if my French is correct) it claims ‘the sheep is the most beautiful animal in the world’.

12) Lightholler – Slovenia’s Dream (SVN) a wonderful little instrumental.

Qualified: SVN, ALG

Group D

13) Betty and the Cavalero – Meet Me At The Red Light (GER) evocative of continental Europe, with decent lyrics, and German words thrown in correctly, in context. Very efficient.

14) Sleep Good – Australia (AUS) this slightly repetitive mostly-instrumental only goes through because of others’ failings.

15) Hunter-Gatherer – Serbia (SRB) 9 minutes of sparse electronic music does nothing but make me feel like I am currently in a post-industrial wasteland.

16) The Invisible Clock Factory – We Are The Black Stars (GHA) extremely over the top, it’s trying to be a national anthem – it’s just cack.

Qualified: GER, AUS

Group E

17) Burning Codes – Wooded Land (NED) kooky, slightly rock-y sound, but let down by poor vocals.

18) Cleemann – Princes of Denmark (DEN) sounds a bit Bowie-esque, but the lyrics play on Denmark’s unlikely 1992 European Cup triumph. Living on past glories? It’s sad to see (cough-1966-cough!).

19) Goatboy – Japanese City Nights (JPN) it sounds like a New Order riff. It’s background music, but good background music.

20) Spirit Spine – Field Way (Song For Cameroon) (CMR) this almost got eliminated because I thought it said ‘Song for Cameron’, but it’s ‘Magnetic Fields’-like simplicity got it through.

Qualified: JPN, CMR

Group F

This was a real ‘group of death’ and I had to listen twice to make my decisions. Any of these songs would have come through the other groups.

21) Le Man Avec Les Lunettes – Don’t Get Fooled By The Football Players’ Summery Outfit (ITA) seemingly written by genuine footy fans. Clever, yet silly lyrics, but a bit twee for my taste.

22) Harry Bird – Pesadilla No.7 (PAR) sounds unbelievably ‘Bob Dylan’, but one of the most memorable songs so far.

23) Adam & Darcie – Aotearoa (NZL) a little M.O.R, á la ‘Lemonheads’, but a very melodic and musical entry with a nice chorus.

24) Escape Act – Slovakia (SVK) Hilariously over-the-top, happy-clappy recanting of the tale of Slovakia’s qualification. Contains the lyric ‘we’ll break those *****’s necks’. Definitely one to watch in the later stages.

Qualified: SVK, PAR

Group G

This was a group of $#!&, and I wouldn’t have put any of them through, but the rules are the rules.


25) Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Back To You (BRA) I was expecting samba beats, but I got a short-but-sweet 60′s style ditty.

26) Francis Bacon’s Ghost – Kim Jung II (PRK) Quite ‘Rolling Stones’-esque, until the vocals ruin it beyond all redemption. This is the stand-out worst entry of the lot.

27) Storkboy Choons – Côte d’Ivoire (CIV) a chilled instrumental.

28) Tap Tap – Dry Dry Land (POR) not very good, but just good enough to make it through.

Qualified: POR, BRA

Group H

29) The Yellow Melodies – Vamos A Ganar El Mundial (ESP) if you can’t speak Spanish, and don’t know what’s being said, this is a very bad song. If you can, it’s beyond abysmal.

30) Candy Claws – Alp Sway Snow Team (SUI) actually sounds like the Alps (or the underwater level from an old Nintendo game)

31) My Brother Woody – Carlos Dreams of World Cup Glory (HON) it’s poor, but it’s mildly amusing, and sort-of football related.

32) Manwomanchild – Chile La Roja (CHI) it sounds like these boys did their footballing homework, and they scrape through on that merit alone.


Qualified: SUI, CHI


Join me soon for the exciting knock-out stages at some point in the very near future (or probably not – especially if my editor decides this has already gone on far too long). Feel free to predict your own winners in the Comments section below.

Chris Oliver

I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.