In Ten Tracks: NEW RAVE


Written by Oscar Henson
16 Wednesday 16th August 2017

New rave: that gaudy mid-noughties mix of electroclash, synth-pop and indie rock that had us – the British youth – hooked for about a summer in 2007.  

Popularised by bands like The Klaxons and New Young Pony Club, the genre blended elements of rave and new wave (hence ‘new rave’ – get it?) to forge a brash, charmingly adolescent sound described by the Guardian as "an in-yer-face, DIY disco riposte to the sensitive indie rock touted by bands like Bloc Party."



Even more memorable than the music was the uniform: paint-on skinny jeans and fluorescent t-shirts; neon sportswear, jagged haicuts and oversized sunglasses whatever the weather. As with rave, face paint and glowsticks were a must, as was a healthy appetite for pills and partying.

The most striking thing about new rave, though, was the speed and totality with which we, its loyal fanbase, completely deserted it. As quickly as it came, it was gone, and universally written off by fans and critics alike as a mistake – a blip in musical history – better off ignored or forgotten. Even now, 10 years on, many of us find it hard to admit that we were there; that we lived it; danced to it, even.



Which is a shame. For one, nu-rave turned a generation of guitar-obsessed teenagers on to the mind altering potentials of electronic music – the repercussions of which we’re still hearing today. Although we might not like to admit it, many of the young upstarts shaping UK dance music today were not introduced to electronic music through pirate radio, cool older brothers or illegal warehouse raves, but via bands like CSS, New Young Pony Club and The Klaxons.

Moreover, some of the tunes from this period have actually aged pretty well – although, admittedly, some better than others. Hadouken! (once considered nu-rave royalty) make for difficult listening today, their parody grime synths and impossibly naff lyrics sounding alarmingly close to something out of Nathan Barley.

Amongst the more questionable moments are gems worth rediscovering and falling back in love with. Here are a few to get you started.


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