02 March 2008

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - 'Mother's Pearls'

The older I get, the more music seems to have the power to move me. This was not what I expected to happen. I assumed music's power would be reduced as adulthood exerted its deadening grip and other things crowded the space. But even back in my Polaroid-coloured days I used to be puzzled by the frequently-repeated tale of John Peel being forced to pull over when hearing Teenage Kicks while driving, helplessly reduced to tears. Music became an obsession for me over two decades ago, yet it didn't have the power to make this teenager cry. Not so now. I'm clearly at a vulnerable age, where youth's optimism yields to disappointment and practical realisation of modern life's limitations, and there seems an ever growing roster of tunes that are capable of bringing tears to my eyes. I have to be careful what I listen to on the tube these days.

I realised things had reached a new level this morning when I managed to make myself blub just by wandering around the kitchen singing this song to myself while making a cup of coffee. Clearly this is a worrying development. But oh, there's something about this at the moment that just makes me ache. First appearing on 2006's classic Etiquette - and by the way, where's the follow-up, huh? - it recently resurfaced as part of a new Daytrotter session. I've written about Daytrotter and Casiotone before, which means I need not repeat myself for all five of you - but I'll simply restate my view that this man is a genius and the sooner the world gets round to recognising him as such the better off we'll all be. This is one of Owen's brilliantly realised female point of view tales, and the usual sketchy story of regret and disappointment, this time about losing a family heirloom while drunk down the club. This is for anyone who's ever done anything they've wanted to unwish the day after, which is all of us. I've begun to think that regret might be the most powerful of human emotions, stronger even than guilt. On Etiquette a woman singer guested in to perform it, but intriguingly here Owen sings it himself, and it still utterly works, poignant words matched with a cheesy hands in the air disco thumper. Today, nothing is as good a this.

Go there, download it, and be not quite the same person you were before. More exciting still, Casiotone are in the UK at the moment. Bush Hall awaits. I am excited, but I'll try to stay dry-eyed.

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