i devoured this album when i first picked it up, and that means the songs are omnipresent. it already felt like they had pitched themselves clearly into a market – though that’s not how i feel about them. they are not exploitative. i said previously that they have a universal quality. that’s where this album resides.
in some aspects, the commercial seemed to result in a few era-specific drops that might make the music date (strokes-like drumming and tinny guitar, anyone?). the effect is a song such as colour coding, which very unfortunately ends up reminding me of cliff richard, so i don’t quite know what they were heading for.
there also has to be something said about a lot of their lyrics; the meaning of which is hard to grasp. i think they attempt to invoke unreal and fantastical images, or odd combinations of physical objects to act as proxies for emotions. but the result often leads to a lack of understanding exactly how one is meant to feel when listening. it’s not that i don’t like thinking – the opposite is true. but for a lot of these songs, the effort to work them out sometimes takes away from the music itself, which is almost always quite astoundingly excellent.
these issues pale in comparison, though, to a song as spectacular as beach. i listened over and over again to this when i got it. it is an example of the baffling lyrics (carbon’s on its naked spree as holidays always should be, but more often than not a vague sound emerged from the sea from a horrible horse sized sea anemone), but in them there is an inherent beauty attached to dave’s melodic rendering. the rapid insistent rhythm of the bass drums literally carries the song, and it must be said that few singers could use just their voice to take a song to an altogether different place. i struggle to explain why i love the song so much.
the also previously-mentioned strength of this band is here everywhere – the complement of dave’s mid-range voice (not unlike darren hanlon sometimes) and, i shudder to write this, tim’s falsetto. it’s fair to say that “high registers”, when i read about or hear them, are my modern equivalent of the revulsion i used to feel about major labels. don’t men sing like men anymore? (sexist can of worms?) but in this permutation, with the music such as it is, it works in a way that planes do (that is, it should be all wrong that something so huge could take off, but it’s the mystery of physics). the best example of this is the eponymous song, granddance.
i suspect for a number of reasons above and otherwise unarticulated, i have a huge crush on every single one of them. you make such beautiful music!