Saturday, April 19, 2008

Global passionoia...

In these days of sub-prime mortgages, rising oil prices, financial insecurity and a weak dollar it is tempting perhaps to wish we were still an island nation, largely independent of outside influences. Forget those thoughts - it hasn't happened for the last ten centuries and it certainly isn't going to happen now but that is not to say that the British take on life is about to disappear.

Who better to catalogue the British condition than Black Box Recorder?

You are late again.
Thank you so much for gracing us with your presence.
No, really, do sit down.
And what on earth is that you are wearing?
This is an educational establishment not a nightclub.
Put your hand up; don't mumble, don't interrupt.
Wipe that idiotic smile off your face.
When you are here you do what I say.
Walk in the corridors; walk, don't run.

That is just the first part of the first song and when Sarah Nixey is headmistress, singing lyrics credited to John Moore and Luke Haines, things are unlikely to get much more comfortable.
While it is the last of the Black Box Recorder albums to date it could hardly be regarded as a weak one and, like the others (England Made Me and The Facts Of Life), it is almost certainly an acquired taste and one unlikely to be widely understood outside the UK.
Many tracks have a sinister undercurrent that might not appear obvious on the first listen and towards the end of the album this is increasingly so. It is, with its often peculiarly ambivalent British references, going to be very difficult to pin down if not in lyrics then in their intention. It is all the more interesting for that. The obvious follow up is Sing, Memory (2007), which is Sarah Nixey singing her own songs, and it is very good indeed.

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