Welsh band Melys has won the latest edition of the influential U.K.’s BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel’s long-running, annual “Festive Fifty” listeners poll. Melys stole top honors with its single “Chinese Whispers” (Sylem Records), ahead of much more widely-favored alternative bands such as the White Stripes and the Strokes. The poll was open to any song released in 2001.
The melodic rock track “Chinese Whispers” was one of two tracks in the top-50 for Melys, which also placed “I Don’t Believe in You” at No. 35. The group, which released its debut album, “Rumours & Curses,” in 1998 and has been recording since 1996, hails from Betws-y-Coed in North Wales.
U.S. duo the White Stripes, surely the most ecstatically hailed new rock act of 2001 in the British media, had two songs in the top-10. “Hotel Yorba” (the pair’s debut single for XL Recordings and a No. 26 pop hit in November) finished at No. 2 and “Fell in Love With a Girl” at No. 6. Its “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” came in at No. 25.
Cinerama, the band of longtime Peel favorite and former Wedding Present frontman David Gedge, came in at No. 3 with “Health and Efficiency.” Another critically-lauded U.S. act, the Strokes, also had two top entries, with “Last Nite” at No. 5 and “Hard To Explain” at No. 7, plus three other titles in the top-50. Bearsuit’s “Hey Charlie Hey Chuck” was No. 4.
Among more “mainstream” modern rock acts, New Order’s August comeback single “Crystal” reached No. 9, with Pulp’s “Sunrise” at No. 19. No edition of the Festive Fifty would be complete without at least one appearance from the Fall, Mark E. Smith’s ever-changing but indestructible band of rock survivors. The group’s track “I Wake Up in the City” finished at No. 30.