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Archive for August 2nd, 2008

You may not remember it now, but last Monday was a cracker of a day. Lucky me, I had taken the day off work and the serendipitous communion of day of lesiure meets good weather nearly put me in a good mood.

I had arranged to visit my pal, who moved to the country earlier this year. Well, they’re calling it the suburbs but I think it’s the sticks. Laytown is the sticks right? Anyway, now she and her husband own a big house with a 5.4 acre garden for less than it would cost you to buy an apartment in Dublin. Still, there’s a lot to be putting up with for all that I think; on rainy days I imagine it’s the kind of place that would make you run out into the road. Except there wouldn’t really be any point as it would take an age for a car to come along and put you out of your misery. Ho-hum.

Anyway, getting back to Monday and it being sunny. And warm. It was perfect. I grabbed a couple of CDs that I had picked up the day before and got in my car and went to visit said friend in the ‘suburbs.’

As I sat in my car, tarmacadam whizzing beneath me into a vanishing point, thighs sweating under the beating sun, the music really took me out of it.

A few months back, I read a big piece about Pacific Ocean Blue in the Guardian. I never really knew much about Dennis Wilson. I own Pet Sounds and that’s it. But as I read about Wilson and this particular album, my mouth went dry. I really wanted to hear it. It’s much different to anything I expected. It doesn’t sound like the Beach Boys. It sounds like a drunk messing around with 80s keyboards before they were invented very late at night. And it sounds like the city, even though it’s called Pacific Ocean Blue, like neon and drug addiction and crime and violence. And a lot of it is steeped in a general pang of low-level regret and dissatisfaction and lethargy. Perfect for my grim mood.

Next up, Fleet Foxes, the album everyone is talking about and the gig of the year that I, of course, missed. Leigh introduced me to this and Bon Iver during our Sauvignon/Pinot Grigio/Baileys ice cream bender. Fleet Foxes has a very different feel to Dennis Wilson’s album, but it also holds its own in the melodiously melancholy genre, my favourite genre. It has a lot in common with the Beach Boys, the bass sound, the keyboards sound, the vocal harmonies, but it also has a touch of Appalachian folk about it too, I think. And it’s got great lyrics.

Bon Iver is now one of my favourite things. I didn’t know the story behind it either – that the guy was heartbroken, and went to a log cabin and spent four months there on this album. Whoever Emma is, she probably feels pretty bad about it all now. The album is great and the four-track recording sounds beautifully sparse. Plus, his voice and harmonies make him sound weirdly like Prince.

I guess what I really want to say here is that these three albums have been helping me over the past couple of weeks. There’s nothing more lovely than forgetting yourself for an hour, and it’s even lovelier if you can do that to the soundtrack of some lovely loud music in a car on a sunny day. There’s nothing like it to make you feel like you’re free from your own life and instead living the life you always thought you’d be living.

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