06 November 2007

I Like Trains - 'Spencer Perceval'

This tune is as goth as I allow myself to get. Hey, there has to be that little bit of goth that lurks within even the poppiest of pop kids of all of us. I concede, albeit grudgingly, that there is that side of me which yearns to don a Joy Division trench coat and walk moodily around a concrete East European city in black and white. In the main I keep it successfully repressed. So I resisted this lot, deterred perhaps by their erratic capitalisation, which I still refuse to concede, and somehow lumping them in mentally with all those interchangeable Leeds-ish bands who scarcely merit attention on Dance to the Radio Records.

I was wrong. This lot are different and pay persistence. Imagine an intelligent Bauhaus with a penchant for Victorian melodrama, bookish, nerdy and, yes, with something of the trainspotter about them. (An earlier favourite of mine was The Beeching Report, a phrase which can still be guaranteed to send into a rage locomotive enthusiasts of my father's generation.) So here's a tune about the only British Prime Minister - to date - to be have been assassinated. And it's a true epic, passing the nine minute mark. Which breaks all my rules. Which is of course great. It appears to be written from the point of view of the assassin, with all the self-justifying, unpunctuated, almost logical madness of the latest YouTube posting of this week's high school killer. You see, only the technology changes. It dives and soars, and I particularly like the moment where everything seems to slip out of time and the whole thing teeters on the edge of falling apart.

This first surfaced as a luscious, jet black 10" - which, we have already established, is the best of all formats - and I frankly didn't give it the attention it deserved then. It resurfaces now as the outstanding moment - rather, series of moments - on the recent LP, Elegies for Lessons Learnt. Pretentious? Of course. There must be a silent film these guys could write a soundtrack for out there somewhere.

The excellent online radio station Dandelion Radio, which of course everyone in the whole world already knows about, a station in the spirit of Peel, is the rightful inheritor of the venerable Festive Fifty tradition. I've cast my three votes and this came third. Only The Teenagers' The Homecoming and Von Sudenfed's The Rhinohead beat it. This means it's been a great year for music.

But then it always is.

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