Here’s a clip of punk-pop North-Eastern lasses (and a guy drummer) Kenickie with their 1997 British radio hit “In Your Car” as taken from their debut album At the Club. The band was named after John Travolta’s best friend in the movie Grease, which is kind of a teenage girl thing to do, maybe.
There are just some songs that make you smile, and one’s that are designed to make you laugh too. With this tale of misunderstood intentions about what a ride home means from one person to another, this one is chock full of comedy. It’s a very British track that way, the Brits reveling in innuendo to a greater degree than we North Americans. But the thing that grabbed me most about this song is the “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah” chorus. I’m a sucker for that.
I first heard this tune while sitting on my couch in a rented flat in Poplar, in the East End of London, England. I went there to work, and while there I got hooked on British music TV shows like Top of the Pops. And this one was an instant classic for me when I saw Kenickie perform it one night on TotP, just because it was so much fun, with so little artifice. And I love the sight of women playing electric guitars, who am I kidding?
Yet, it’s soaked in irony too, with the narrator who tells the tale of chatting up a guy for a lift home, complementing his car in such a way that it seems like she’s talking about something else entirely. Yet, by the end of the song, it turns out that she was talking about the car all along.
The band themselves had a few more hits, a second album, and a John Peel session. But, just as sugar rushes tend to be short-lived, so were Kenickie. Yet, Lauren Laverne made an impression as a gifted vocalist outside of the punk-pop idiom, singing solo and guesting on dance outfit Mint Royale’s 2001 single “Don’t Falter” single, which was also a big radio hit. Later, she would carve out a TV career as a presenter, framing her bubbly personality in a new medium.