It seems very escapist to talk about music at the moment, following the latest, large scale reminder of the general fragility of life. Things I've listened to in the last week have tended to sound a bit hollow. I know things have gone wonky when I go back to listen to old stuff by the Fall. This is my default, my musical magnetic north. I retreat here when all is confused. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Fall stuff, particularly early 1980s live recordings.
But this Concretes record, it's been about a bit, and I've played it a fair bit, but only recently did I come to really appreciate it. It was sometime over Christmas, somewhere between night and morning. I lay in bed rigidly awake with night fear, head filled with a forest of worries, unable to sleep but too tired to do a thing. So I slipped the headphones on and listened this through. Perfect. These are cute songs, sugar coated but with a sad centre. They're tuneful, but the singer can't sing a note. I think this girl is the latest in a line of great singers who can't sing, something I've always fallen for (see also: Mark E Smith, Julian Cope, Edwyn Collins). The Concretes sound like you always hoped Saint Etienne would.
It did the job, this record. I listened to it, then slipped back to sleep. Perhaps music still retains its power after all.