Friday Music

Marmite: you either love it or you hate it. This is true: indeed so true that the makers adopted it as a slogan a few years back.

This is Marmite Music: you will either hate it or love it. In fact, if you love it, it will be a slow love and is unlikely to be love at first sight.

It is only a few years ago that I discovered ‘Neutral Milk Hotel’ and ‘In the aeroplane over the sea’: an obscure album but highly influential. Both my children like it as it is so different and strange. When that group disbanded, the drummer drifted; even spending time as a postman in Leicester (something that we share: I was a temporary postman in Leicester, back in the day...). Then he learned accordian and formed this group.

I am growing to like the album I found: ‘darkness at noon’ (any title like that would do it for me), but it is strange: kind of Neutral Milk Hotel meets an accordian and violin in Bulgaria, gets seduced by Transylvanian folk music but periodically wakes up and remembers his rock/avant guard heritage….

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The return of Friday music for this week at least…

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Do you know that feeling when you buy an album and you want to keep playing it?

I buy, loan or am given too many albums (ok I’m trying to be holy- it is not possible to have too much music or too many books); most of them I end up liking, few of them I play repeatedly for weeks on end.

This one I am playing over and over again. On first listen it was so strange, on the second listen it was even stranger; now it has become strange and intriguing and each time I get something more from it.

I had heard of it a few times over the last few years as being ‘critically acclaimed’ (words that mean almost nothing) and even ‘iconic’ (ditto) and shied away from buying it. When no one who I knew had heard of it, I bought it (that is my failing: I abhor making ‘popular’ music choices just because everyone else is).

I cannot even begin to describe the style (although it is safe to say that if you like happy music with cheesy rhymes and obvious ‘surface’ lyrics you will turn it off within seconds)….although one of the reviews says ‘Lyrically-complex and gruesome. Musically-simple and sweetly melodic. It gets under your skin and stays there permanently. A devastating record from beginning to end’ I would agree with most of that…..although sometimes it is not ‘sweetly melodic.’

My music jury (every Tuesday I have to transport 4 children aged 10,10,9 and 7 to the local swiiming baths) love it and beg consistently for it to be played.

A random quote from youtube that catches the mood of the lyrics:-

‘…but Jeff is something more than nonsense, though certainly cryptic — I’m not trying to pick on you, it’s just that he managed to find the perfect balance of words to paint a vivid picture, using? words that kind of trace around the topic he’s trying to convey — enough talking, he’s just a true genius. Like most brilliance, there’s something totally unexplainable about it’.

If you wish to be lifted, confused, depressed and deafened…go and buy it…