She did it again.
Here’s my riveting bulletin of my media-whore week. We Are Nobody is my favourite perfect-pop album since that one by Gauntlet Hair, ie it sounds about ten minutes long and every track sounds the same and even in the evening of all-day-repeats you can’t tell where you are and it is the chap singing, he has lady-help, I love the tiny moments where she makes him go all SwingleSingery-dewdroppy, I love how The Chap peaks early, how he’s only human, the pop has clean straight lines, no photos on the wall, nothing superfluous, and I loved how I loved it deeply and instantly and probably not for long.
This is really about Simple Minds and X5 and how for two years they were the ONLY band on the planet. My mum used to threaten me that when I grew up I’d find that life was a lot more complicated than blah blah. And I’m still waiting. I was like Peggy Lee in Is That All There Is, and still am. Watched an old episode of Snub TV, the one that starts with The Sundays, the band I love almost more than any other, and in the middle of that episode there’s an interview with Bill Drummond and he says “AS FAST AS POSSIBLE” about how he was making music. And for a while Simple Minds did it like that too. Here’s what they did. They did a crap/retro first album. They knew it was stinker and did a fast mad overreacting second album which I adored then and like now. It’s like Be Bop Deluxe in Another Green World. It’s crazy. You know how you work on something all day and it just gets shittier and clogged up and right near the end you throw it all away and start again with just five minutes to go and those reckless fast simple five minutes produce more reckless beauty than 9-5. And you know almost everyone today is a musician. You know what they’re like - a bit dopey - they sit in an armchair across the room from you playing some nice little gentle jam on an acoustic guitar and you think that’s going to be a beautiful song and they go into the studio and want to fill up all 128 tracks with clever stuff and it’s not finished yet cos they know theee perfect trombonist in Australia who could drive down next month and melt into the coda etc etc and five years later they’ve created some shite clever complicated dollop of tuneless forgotten mud. For a couple of years Simple Minds went mad and unmusicianly and made 2/3 repetitive simple perfect albums.
The kind of albums that musicians don’t make.
The guy at the mixing desk must’ve been baffled when the band said they’d finished. I under-adored E&D and over-adored the laziness of SFC/S&F, tackily cling-filmed together behind manky Virgin ££££££bargain stickers. My favourite SM track is here - Careful In Career - happening when I first hit the career market and instantly unemployed and discovering how simple life is - the very rich and the very poor do exactly what they want - just avoid the complicated shit in the middle. Jim Kerr’s deep bitter voice still plays in my head in the DSS interview rooms as I nod my agreements looking at them looking through at me, pouring in ecstasy. Complicated symphonies make me claustrophobic, simple string quartets make me agoraphilic, my perfect minimal-techno album is a tap dripping into a bucket - & had to do it myself - obviously Britain was last to the party.
America had dived into simplicity’s beauty in the 1960s with Steve Reich and the Stooges etc, Germany had done it in the early 70s with Can and NEU etc. Britain trailed along embarrassingly, a huge wasted gap of proggy shitty complication between Tallis/Byrd/Dowland and early Simple Minds. Then Simple Minds got complicated and my mum loved them and won but I still think that so long as you’re all-or-nothing then life can be okay and simple.
That Mouse On Mars thing obsessed me. I loved it. It was inevitable. All anyone needs to do is SOMETHING-cum-beautiful, just once - and that proof-of-genius buys my loyalty forever. MoM did it twice, with their first two albums, two of the twelve holiest greatest albums ever made. I love them even when I don’t like them. I liked the Ruby Throat album. And the Acid Baby Jesus album was nearly my ROTW, because it is very RoyalTruxy - but if you’re coming after Royal Trux you’ve got to overtake them. It’s easy. Anyone could do it. Even me. You should hear me play the guitar. But no one’s brave enough to be that simple. The opposite of complicated. People’d laff at you from their confirmatory herd. Shit there was TONS of stuff I loved this week, it breaks my heart to think about it - because I only KNOW I love it, without having enough time to ACTUALLY DO the ACTUAL LOVING!!! I loved Battles and Dirty Three and SBTRKT and Solis and Sigha and not answering the phone and watching two shoplifters running across the car park carrying TVs in boxes.
My favourite thing on Azure’s supersonic blog was that Coppice Halifax rubbery reissue. New-affair ambience with heartbeats pumping up his stethoscope, it goes back to the SimpleMinds theory - how the simple music is the stuff you best get lost in and lose sense of time - you know when you’re at THAT level in a binge, alone or with quiet people and lost in something that never changes but will never get boring - when music gets close to that unjarring one-idea naturalness, that is when it’s eternal - the opposite of what man does when he has to fuck shit up with multi-storey car parks in rainforests or films that jump about in time. An oldish album by The Green Kingdom is/was another beautiful ambient/instrumental album which in a normal week would’ve been an album of the year, but nowadays just passes for another staggering daily occurrence. North Hero - I know I adored it, the CDR is on a special pile for eternal repeatings. And there was a thing by Garth Knox that sounded like one of the most beautiful things I ever owned - a fourteen-CD boxed set of John Dowland’s complete music - and like the best thing on the iplayer last week - the music in that brilliant Lucian Freud documentary.
MC had one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard - the latest thingy by Bengalfuel. I don’t usually like them/her?/him? that much, but this is exceptional - it’s the constant-humming brooding layerings that turned Heat from a good film into a great one. Same as in the second half of Drive. That Bengalfuel thing is I think a free Bandcamp DL. Rupert Murdoch is winning a few battles at the moment, but Bengalfuel prove that he’ll lose the war. I loved Monolake too. That Jozef Van Wissem Jim Jarmush thingy is okay - I like Jim’s films and I like his music, in a one-off way. MC had an old album by Pixels which I’d not heard before and will “keep” forevermore - toweringly silent razor-cuts of glitchy music nearly not there at all, like the bare apartments in Drive too.
Nearly ROTW was that weirdy thing by People Of The North. It’s almost unbearable. The first track starts with all this loud clack clack clack cack clack drumming like beaters driving pheasants to the guns. We had visitors at the time so I politely skipped on to the second track, which starts the same way. So on to the third track which is also the final track and very long and it played and we chatted and at the end it all remains a mystery, so in my head it is as absolutely perfect as this early Minnie Riperton album which always plays to get me high right now and press the “send” key and forget this week and move on to next week which is also bound to be simple and fantastic, the end.