Remembering Les Incompetents

Sadly, London band Les Incompetents are now confided to NME's shitty '00s bands we forgot about' lists. They deserve more than this.

As 2004 was drawing to an end, it was becoming abundantly clear the Libertines were finished (for now). Pete's drug problems caused riffs which would take years to heal. This was leaving a big hole for someone to fill.

The history records will show that the charisma vacuum of Alex Turner's Arctic Monkeys and the ego maniacal Johnny Borrell of Razorlight went on to fill it, but, for a short and exciting period, it looked like it was going to be Les Incompetents.

They, like The Libertines, had back and forth vocals which gave sense of brotherhood that the UK has always craved. Furthermore, after the intense William Blake-esque poetry of Albion seeking Libertines, they offered a far more light hearted nature.

At the heart of this were a string of terrific singles. 'Reunion' opened with the glorious line 'No not this way / I haven't even been paid yet' and has a guitar breakdown which always draws a smirk as they took piss on stage.

'RamShackle Riot Show', only one minute eighteen seconds long, it packs in an amazing amount of lyrics and the faux-honest mocking of Libertines in the third verse is priceless:

So say goodbye to the heroes
That never knew your name
Loved them to death
But they never felt the same
And know they've gone for ever
They have gone for good
Over the motorcycle
Like I always knew they would

Pulling everything together in one glorious moment was the single 'How It All Went Wrong'. A song which is full of drama, humour and great singalong moments. Ten years on we are still wondering who 'Andy the disco Queen' is and, more importantly, we are still dancing to this track. The mid-noughties is often ill-defined as a second coming of lad bands. This single is perhaps the ultimate counter to that argument. It showcases a creative intuitiveness that the bigger egos of 'lad bands' rarely had.

Alas, all of this promise came to a premature end in June 2006 when frontman Billy Leeson was attacked from behind by former Green Party member Christian Briggs. This tragically left Leeson in a coma for over a month and by September that year, Les Incompetents were no more.

Despite leaving a feeling of what might have been, they were a joyous little star which burned brighter than most. Copies of of the compilation 'End of an Error (2004-2006)' are hard to come by worth every penny.