Hurts, Silver Columns, Summer Camp: your time is now, whoever you are

Wonderful Life is a top tune, but who are the enigmatic duo behind it? Whether by accident or design, the sound of 2010 are teasing us

Pop has a long history of hiding its true identity behind silly masks (Slipknot, the Residents) and made-up people (Gorillaz, Green Day's electro offshoot the Network), but it's a simple refusal to play the name game that gets people guessing every time. The big reveal isn't always up to Deep Throat standards: remember the fuss over smoking out Burial, who turned out out be be – shock! – a bloke from south London? But right now, anonymity is having a moment, as a bunch of the year's hottest bands are emerging with nothing but songs, popping the TMI bubble by failing to release even a scrap of (true) information about themselves.

Hurts made many 2010 tip lists, but their MySpace page sports just one video, for the really quite great single Wonderful Life. On the basis of the clip, they're two smart chaps into the Human League, Pedro Almódovar and nice M&S suits. If you want to find out even more about them, you can go to their official site, which has a picture and a link back to MySpace. It's a frustrating cycle of tease, tease, tease, and to hammer home the point even more, their official URL is "". Funny.

Then there are Silver Columns, who are also a bit special, but don't want anybody to know who they are, so haven't even done a video – not even a moody one. Rumour has it that they're musos and we might have heard of them. Comment-based pondering has thrown up Adem, a Stereophonic, Digitalism, or "Oxide out of Oxide & Neutrino and one of the Klaxons". Proof that sometimes anonymity is can be an act of kindness.

Finally, there's Summer Camp, who came armed with nothing but a MySpace page and a couple of spectacularly lovely pop songs. Suddenly everyone cottoned on that they were very good, and the one scrap of information they did provide – that they were Swedish – might not have been true. So here's some proper journalism for you: we found out who they are, and talked about their secret identities. Which, it turns out, were an accident.

"It wasn't deliberate," said one member, who nonetheless wished to stay anonymous. "We made the MySpace in two minutes and did it like that in case somebody we knew stumbled on it and laughed at us."

Now they're stuck with it, for the time being at least. Sure, incognito gigs will be tricky, but the freedom of staying unknown is no bad thing: "It's all a bit pressured, so it gives us time and space."

It's also a nice way of pulling against the fans' need to know what a band had for breakfast, what their pants look like, and how many teabags they ask for on their rider. But it's also fleeting. If the reach of the net is strong enough to show you Basshunter's sex face, expect some identity outings soon.


Rebecca Nicholson

The GuardianTramp

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