Id seen Embrace play their first single ‘All you good good people’ on Top of the pops and had been really into it, just exited you know? The buzzing feelgood factor that comes from hearing something so swaggeringly enormous right from the start. The realistic nervousness of Danny McNamara’s vocals combined with huge strings usually reserved for that second album filled me with a huge sense of anticipation. Could a band really be this good from the start? What about the dodgy ‘indie’ album the real fans were into before the band started writing real songs? Was something this simple really going to save the kids from the monotony that the now daytime friendly Gallaghers had began to inflict on us, because by then it was wearing a bit thin wasn’t it?
Just an attempt at signing another Oasis? Well yeah, if you want to believe that then that’s fine, honestly, but don’t bother reading on because you simply wont get it, all will be explained later on. I ‘d listen to this record at work when everybody else had gone home, just me, sat with bad posture swinging from side to side whilst staring into uncharted territory. It sounded as good then, in that dimly lit friendly space with loads of tea, as it does now with loads of whatever drink makes me feel good. It just got to me and made sense, sort of came up with the right ideas at a time of self doubt back when I was finding it difficult to be myself. The good will out provided me with a type of knowing escapism, I suppose it’s easy to give in to dreams and smiles at times of weakness and self doubt. I was as happy to do that then as I am now.
The pictures it conjures up and what it means in your head fade the chords and melodies into insignificance. Commonly known as memories, but in this instance a romantic feature of the highest order.
(As I am writing this Tranmere Rovers have got a goal back against Liverpool in the 6th round of the FA Cup, they’ll probably lose and end up concentrating on not getting relegated to the 2nd division. Right now though it doesn’t matter and ‘That’s all changed forever’ is paying a fitting tribute to the thousands of underdogs desperate to fulfil their fairytale in an arm round shoulder solidarity.)
It’s certainly not about being experimental because there’s nothing new here at all. After being bored to tears by those chin strokingly good Portishead records, falling for the charms of what appears to be so shallow is a little disconcerting. Anything new is how it makes you feel about the past, and in turn how that makes you feel about everything that lies ahead. Its entirety makes you feel like a hero for getting as far as you have, humbled by the decency of the like minded people you choose to surround yourself with.
There’s no V sign visible anywhere; instead the fingers are facing the other way round to denote victory. Triumph over your failures with conscious smiles, happy that you were unsuccessful, partly because that loss makes you the person you are today. The sentimentality is quite superficial, not deep and meaningful, more surfacelike in a glazey eye, half pissed, arms held aloft sort of way.
‘Come back to what you know’, a grim reminder that you must continue to make those memories, be it week in Greece or a weekend on the South Coast. It doesn’t matter just so long as you don’t do anything constructive, just laugh about the lost it stuff that you get up to and ignore that silly all important ‘career’ that will leave you with nothing but personal crisis and resentment.
‘All you good good people’ in all its slide guitar driven, brass section sing along glory. The ultimate chant to accompany those glorious memories of excess, hysterical laughter and how funny drunkenness really is. Because you know how you like to sing along don’t you? When everything’s so huge and the red wine has given you that warm feeling before you go out. The face is set, inwardly acknowledging that most of what world strives for is either crap or boring or possibly both. What you have and do is rapidly disappearing, it’s precious and you must continue with you conquest for the sake of your way of life. The knowing that its your right to blow all the money in your poxy wank account on booze, gym membership, overpriced clothes and enjoyment because if you don’t do it now you’ll look back and see that you broke your own heart by giving in so easily.
It’s almost like a reality check or even an urgent wake up call. Our superb little island seems to be spiralling into a vortex of unrelenting tedium controlled by McIkea, Radio 1 and aggressive people with alloys desperate for a reason to have some self respect. A little bit 6th form I know but you can see what I’m getting at right? You know? You’re a southerner, English, white, wear shit clothes, love your country but dislike nationalism, cars and the Queen Mother. In fact the whole concept of Royalty makes you want to smash things up.
So nobody likes you. You’ve never done any “Extreme sports” apart from one of those sponsored parachute jumps with the local pub and even then you nearly cried. It doesn’t matter , because in the end the good will out and people like us will have the memories to rise above such repulsive shallowness. It’ll all be fine, stood round the BBQ being an expert like everyone else arguing about the premiership like you know what you’re talking about. But if you know, then you know you know and if you don’t then you simply won’t get it. So if you do know and have this album then you probably have a life and spent the above mentioned Sunday afternoon filling your trolley full of glory and romance.