02 August 2009

Fever Fever ' 'Keys In The Bowl'

Perhaps in an ideal world we would only ever listen to any piece of music once. We would have to form a fleeting impression and then be forced to fall back on our own unreliable memories to reconstruct any given tune, which would warp and morph as we went along. Imagine, we could all hear the same thing at the same time and then reconvene a year later with our own startingly diverged, personalised versions.

Although I've never managed to get along to one of their rare performances, I'm sympathetic to the idea of The Bays, who are only about playing live and doing something different each time, and reject the idea of release and recording. I admire most ideas taken to extremes.

Naturally I only embrace the theory. As someone who can no longer recall the colour of his carpet, lost as it is under the laval advance of vinyl and CDs, I demand the physical object. I buy records as a compulsion; I have this particular specialised form of the male illness. And overwhelmed as I am by a continuing, unfavourable distortion of that equation between quantity of records purchased versus time in which to play them, I now approach, albeit accidentally, the puritan position I toy with. I buy many seven inches, much of them not already heard, because I was struck by something I read, or some connection with something else I sort of like, or some record label with an above average strike rate. Many of them get played just the once. They travel the short physical distance from the pile of unplayed to a pile of played. Others take their place in the stack and they quickly become buried. In busy times, only the ones that stick out on first listen demand exhumation. Many, nothing wrong with them, simply good or okay, will be forgotten and moved to another pile.

There's always another pile.

So here was one - Fever Fever - that stood out on first listen and demanded repeat play. There was enough to suggest a smart purchase: from Norwich, which has of late compensated for the decline of its football team by becoming a niche provider of quirky, noisy Peel pop, and on our friends Cherryade records, which have offered us many seven inch shaped packages of joy these past few years. Sufficient there to pluck it from the racks. And on that first listen, socks were duly blown off. I'm always pre-programmed to love something like this: short, shouty, female fronted rock, keeps changing direction, crams ideas in. I loved it. Ever since I took time our from stealing furtive glances at my sister's Jackie magazines to develop a 70s crush on Suzi Quattro, I've always been a sucker for anything that combines racuous guitar with don't-give-a-fuck female vocals, I suppose.

So it's great, and all should own this, and here's a band to take an interest in, but it's just... well now I've played it again and again, in vinyl and in download, and repeat listens don't offer the same magic as that first blast. Whereas the version I'd have in my head if I had only heard this once: that would surely be the greatest tune ever.

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