SOMETHING IS HOLDING ME DOWN

The ‘epic’ one. Being ‘epic’ without being ‘wanky’ is everso difficult. I don’t know if we achieved it but we gave it a good shot. A few of the tunes on Bon Iver’s second album do it well. Knowingly overblown. Not saying we scaled those heady heights of course. It’s basically us playing the same chords over and over, slow build up, big crescendo ending. That seemed to be becoming our trademark. Well…it’s Mogwai’s trademark but we borrowed it.

This is the moment in the story arc where everything seems lost and our hero/antihero steps up, the cameras pan out and the violins swell. Or something. Hopefully it’s hopeful. We chucked everything at it whilst recording it. Kitchen sink. The lot. This would have been the one to get the orchestra in at Abbey Road. Unfortunately we did this in the freezing cold studio I work in so an extra cup of tea was all we could bring in on our budget. Good tea though. For some reason, there’s something about the organ that reminds me of Billy Ocean’s ‘When the Going Gets Tough’. That in turn reminds me of the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner 80’s classic film, ‘The Jewel of the Nile. No bad thing.

Here’s a vid from our Wedgewood Rooms album launch back in 2013. Top 3 gig for us I reckon. Good times.

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WANDER (THROUGH THE NIGHT)

I better get a bit of a wiggle on as I don’t want to be writing about this stuff after Chrimbo. Let’s get cracking.

So ‘Wander…’ was our first single of the album. I think, in the same way ‘Alfred…’ did on the first album it sort of summed up in succinct fashion everything about the band at that point. Harmony guitars, weird time signature, little bit heavier, creepy lyrics. It also has a Westlife-style key change in it. What more can you want in a song?

The words themselves are very stalker-y. Seemed to come naturally that part. Not sure what that says about me. We made a lovely video (see below) with our pal Joe Watson who fronted the excellent Attack! Vipers. They also split at Southsea Fest this year though. The TBOTB curse strikes again? Sorry about that. The vid itself was filmed in the round tower in Old Portsmouth where I’m fairly sure we weren’t allowed to be so in vaguely rock and roll style we got in and out before THE ROZZERS COULD GET US. I doubt the rozzers would have really given a toss.

It got a wee bit of radio play on 6music specialty shows and Amazing radio (where the esteemed Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins/Bella Union gave it a spin…probably a career highlight for me personally…) and also gave us a bit of a fright when we got the test-pressing of the vinyl back from the plant as there were 3 suspicious scratches at the end of the song. Turns out it was when we recorded Elliott’s lighter for some reason and I’d forgotten that we bunged it on the recording. There was a reason for it but it escapes me now….I also recall myself and David doing a reworked, quiet acoustic version live on Express FM. It was hideous.

CANARIES IN THE COALMINE

Canaries in the Coalmine. It’s a great saying. If you’re not aware it basically means an early warning for something dangerous approaching. Miners used to take canaries down the pit to see if deadly gas was present apparently (i.e.…if the bird keeled over, it wasn’t safe to be down there…). It’s also apparently the name of a song by Sting and co when they pretended to be a law enforcement agency in the 70’s and 80’s. I didn’t know that prior to writing it though.

That feeling of forewarning and imminent doom is really what the whole album and the story behind it was about. This song was kind of the pivotal point of it all I suppose. The lyrics are probably the nastiest I’ve ever written. The protagonist is losing it, becoming a right b’stard and this is him venting on everyone around him. Not me. Well….a bit me.

We played it live only a handful of times but I always loved it when we did…especially the end section. It gave our inner ROCK band a rare chance to come through which was always fun. In fact, I think everyone is bang on it in this…bass, drums, keys….it really comes together to pack a punch. Dave’s guitar on it is especially fearsome. Although I do remember neither of us being able to play the mandolin bit in the chorus very well and cracking up every time we fucked it up. The little piano bit prior to the choruses also came from when we recorded it for an original demo many moons ago. Jack went to play and it was in the wrong place. Turned out to be my fave bit so it stayed in. Happy mistake. Much like the band itself.

Published in: on December 17, 2014 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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