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Thursday, November 04, 2004  
wtf is with people hating on Robbie Williams?


This Is Part Seven (7)

The Enormous Embrace Exercise Part Whateverthefuck It Is (which is seven (7), isn’t it)

A song-by-song directory and exegesis of my in-and-out-of-love affair with The Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band On Acid


And lo on the fourth day He did say There Shall Be Another Single, And With It Shall Come More B-Sides And You, My Son Nick Southall, Shall Be Compelled By Goodly Love For Music To Write About Them.

Maybe I Wish
Danny told a selection of fans who accompanied the band (all expenses paid) on a three-day trip to Spain for a gig aboard a yacht that “the next single has the best b-side we’ve ever written on it”. This is that b-side. Is it the best they’ve ever written? Someone who was on that trip but who shall remain anonymous asked me via MSN last night whether it was, citing the fact that often he/she trusts my opinion more than the band’s when it comes to how good the songs they’ve not heard yet are. Do bands always know their best songs? Doubtful. I bow to my brother when he tells me what I’m best at doing in a game of football (i.e. “stop attempting 40-yard passes in five-a-side, stop trying to go past everyone, just pass the ball simple and early and find space and get on the end of things; you’re very good at that you twat”); sometimes people outside of yourself see the best in what you do because of the remove. But make no mistake – this is a very, very good song. For a while it was deigned to be the closing track on the current album, until “Out Of Nothing” came along and obliterated it. “Maybe I Wish” starts small and builds and builds and builds – five and a half minutes long, no guitar solos, no instrumental passages, no dramatic changes in direction – just an ever-developing melody and growing weight of impetus and emotion. The band produced it themselves in a perfunctory fashion, as if they are saying “here is a damn good song, a song so good, in fact, that all you’re getting is the song”. Had Youth got hold of it and worked some magic it might have been amazing.

Enough
Played live at one of the Cockpit gigs back in December, this is the vinyl-only choice this time, which is sad because it’s very good indeed. Golrim does not like it because it’s noisy, but WHAT DOES HE KNOW? (Quite a lot, actually, and I love him.) It is noisy – it spits and snarls at you from a garage. The title comes from the phrase “I’ve just had ENOUGH” which is the refrain. Sounds like it was largely done in one take with some overdubs later – great guitar in the verse when it goes a bit quieter and makes a rhythmic shluckaschlucka noise. Great harmonies to close. A bit Spiritualized, a bit Primal Scream, a lot pretty good.

Flaming Red Hair
This might raise some eyebrows. Some people might hate it to start with, but most of the people I trust will love it, because it’s fucking wonderful. Started life as a jammed cover of a certain Michael Jackson tune, and has been corrupted almost unrecognisably from there (connoisseurs will recognise parts of the bassline). Apparently Youth and an engineer ran off with the master tapes of the jam that this was adapted from and worked on them in secret while the band were mastering the album tracks – clever man, clever man. I love him, in a truly platonic sense. I played it to a musician/academic friend of mine yesterday and his response was “that emphasises just how shit Kasabian are then”. It emphasises a lot of things. That Embrace are not living in the pigeonhole people think they are. That their next album is gonna be fully jaw-dropping amazing. That they’re happy to piss away outstanding pieces of music such as this on the b-side of singles. Almost all the criticisms levelled at Embrace by whoever chooses to criticise them would be completely laid to waste by songs like this and “Too Many Times”, and by older tunes like “Blind” and “Brothers & Sisters” – those are just the b-sides. “One Big Family”, “New Adam New Eve”, the orchestral meltdown at the end of “All You Good Good People”- oh, I’ve said it all before. If you’d heard “Even Smaller Stones” live then you’d shut the fuck up. This is what marks Embrace out from your Keanes, Coldplays, Thirteen Senses or whoever, above and beyond any tremulous claims that they write better, more emotional songs (although they do). It even marks them out above the likes of Doves, Elbow – none of those bands ever rocked, ever stuck themselves right on the edge of creative failure and challenged themselves to do what the uneducated didn’t imagine them to be capable of, none of them ever did this. “Flaming Red Hair” is a tightly controlled and exercised melange of disco noise, of energy, or barely concealed psychosis and oddness. It’s got a verse, a chorus, a middle eight, but it doesn’t use any of those things in a way you’d expect. It doesn’t use anything in the way you’d expect. The DFA’s publicity guy is a huge Embrace fan, which, as Mr Unterberger pointed out to me last night, was rather an odd thing. This sounds like it could have been produced by the DFA. ARE YOU LISTENING? Bollocks to The Rapture.

How Come
This might raise some eyebrows too, only most fans have already heard it. A live session for Jo Whiley these days must include an indie band doing a (possibly ironic) cover of a recent pop hit, to show just how superior (yeah, right) “real” “indie” music is to pop, in some people’s eyes; LOOK, HAVEN ARE SO TALENTED THEY CAN MAKE SOME PIECE OF POP SHIT BY SOME POP SHITTER INTO A HEART-RENDING MASTERPIECE DRIPPING WITH EMOTIONAL EMOTION – witness Travis making “Hit Me Baby One More Time” into a pussy ballad (where ballad = quiet acoustic sappy shit rather than story-as-song). Dismemberment Plan covered “Crush” by Jennifer Paige on an EP a few years ago, made it into a brooding 6-minute psycho stalker song. It was OK. Embrace did the Jo Whiley show some 6 weeks ago or so, and were going to cover “Cry Me A River” by Justin until someone told them it had already been done. So they hastily arranged a cover of “How Come” by D12. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. It’s only three minutes long, it starts out with piano and a melody that Danny wrote so he wouldn’t have to try and beat Eminem at his own game. It grows into something that you might call epic. It is intense and it is very, very good.

I wonder what other Nick-appeasing tunes they have saved up for the next batch of b-sides. Hopefully more disconoise.

NJS

11/04/2004 09:51:00 am

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous - 12:37 pm

Sorry nick wots the DFA? Woot

 
Anonymous Anonymous - 12:42 pm

Also the split with hut might seriously marr any chance of a comprehensive and well compiled b sides album

 
Blogger Nick - 1:16 pm

The DFA (Death from Above) are an NYC-based production duo who've done records for The Rapture, Radio 4, LCD Soundsystem etcetera. They make hipper-than-thou discopunk (allegedly) and are fucking great. Check Amazon for their two outstanding compilations.

 
Anonymous Anonymous - 9:52 pm

DFA...interesting. Kind of Nerdy/Soulwaxy, then? If you mean the same guys who did Romantic Rights, it doesn't exactly sound disco to my ears - Spagbag

 
Anonymous Anonymous - 2:20 am

Nah, that's Death From Above 1979. They're a band.

And Nick, this is the first installment that actually makes me want to hear some Embrace. Don't suppose you'd email some stuff to my gmail account, eh?

Mathers, still at work

 
Blogger Nick - 2:01 pm

Email me your gmail address - njsouthall at gmail dot com

 
Blogger Rambo - 1:57 pm

"That their next album is gonna be fully jaw-dropping amazing. That they’re happy to piss away outstanding pieces of music such as this on the b-side of singles."

Either that or the next album is gonna be ordinary because Danny wants to hide away music like this on the b-sides.

 
Blogger Nick - 8:42 am

He doesn't. This isn't "hidden away" on the b-side because they're afraid to have it on the next album; it's put there as a pointer, and because they know how much people love the b-sides.

 
Blogger Edward O - 8:54 am

Nick, it's your fault that I bought a copy of the Embrace singles collection. It was cheap, though, and I needed something indie to hide something embarassing behind, so I don't really regret it.

Still, "Someday" off the new album is great.

 
Blogger Nick - 1:12 pm

What was it you were buying that made you embarassed and why?

 
Blogger Edward O - 1:26 pm

I should of course preface this admission with the fact that the CD in question was $2.99 - i.e. about one pound.

Five's Greatest Hits. Really. It was. I'm ashamed of few things, but that tipped the scales. If I'd only spotted it the bargain bin the same day I'd bought Universal Audio I would have saved a few bucks. Dear me, I'd forgotten how awful the single mix of I Wouldn't Wanna Happen To You is, because I do like the album version.

 

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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com


All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005