The Talking Heads were arty New York snots whose début, Talking Heads: 77, is pretty much that, the Talking Heads in ’77. Overeducated Cambridge students the Soft Boys released their first a full two years later; this record is called A Can of Bees, and, what d’you know, that’s exactly what it sounds like. Talking Heads: 77 features a warped, turned-on-its head take on pop music which would then go on to inspire legions of new wave bands. A Can of Bees features a warped, turned-on-its-head take on pop music which would then go on to inspire almost nobody – few groups have been so roundly ignored by the world. The Talking Heads record explores urban alienation and paranoia in an age of increasing mechanisation. The Soft Boys tackle such wildly gripping and relevant subjects as the Rat’s Prayer, Leppo and the Jooves, and the Return of the Sacred Crab.
In 1978, Gloria Gaynor hit number ones on both sides of the Atlantic with her single I Will Survive; to date ex-girlfriends ring up at all hours, drunk and sniffling, and insist on reading the words aloud to me. Twenty-odd years later, Calfornia clever-boys Cake played their version, this time featuring deadpan hipster singing, dry, skronky guitars and a bassline I think of as a Gift from God: what d’you know, the internet has been rocking on its foundations this last decade and a half as record collecting geeks worldwide try to settle the question once and for all: Which is Better?