Unpopular Advent 2018 – Day 16

Deerful – Tell Me I Can Fix This on My Own

When I slid some songs from ‘Tell Me…’ onto Unpopular mixes earlier in the year I tweeted to the effect that the album is ‘A Distant Shore’ for coders. There is a strong temptation to leave this statement hanging in the air here, for surely there is nothing more that one could need to add?

At twenty seven minutes in length ‘Tell Me…’ clocks in just a shade longer than Tracey Thorn’s jewel so there is certainly a ‘physical’ similarity at play here. More than this though it is the feel of the two records that is almost entirely in sync across the decades that separates them. Both records explore similar threads of loss, distance and separation underpinned by deep connectedness. Both records hold individual gems within their grooves (physical and virtual respectively) yet both combine each of those moments to create a whole that somehow adds up to more than the sum of the individual parts. Each is long enough to weave a narrative that draws you in, each short enough to leave you yearning for more. Or at the very least to flip it over/press the ‘repeat’ button and listen all over again.

Of those gems on ‘Tell Me…’ it is the closing duo of ‘The Seaside Town’ and ‘Sunset Drive’ I keep coming back to, and not just because they are the cuts I chose for those Unpopular mixes and so am most familiar with through repeated playing. There is certainly something of the ‘Small Town Girl’ in ‘The Seaside Town’, with its waves gently washing on the sands and its timbre the pallor of promenades in winter. It brings to mind also that great Amanda Applewood record ‘I Love Boys’ and in particular the gorgeous ‘1983′. Admittedly it is entirely possible that this is me making my own connections out to my own specific context of growing up in a seaside town and ‘A Distant Shore’ being the most played record of that particularly mythic summer. Yet if these are not the kinds of deep connections that Pop insists on making then frankly what is the point of Pop at all?

‘The Seaside Town’ drifts along wistfully, almost plaintively to a conclusion, the tide receding on a holiday romance (or on the ghost of self) just as ‘Sunset Drive’ bump-starts into gear. This is the sounds of the disco heard from the shore, the draw of the dance floor both terrifying and seductive. This is a song that gleefully embraces the imagery and tradition of Pop as journey, music as the ultimate in escapology. I’m not sure there is a better compliment to proffer than that, except the aforementioned one about ‘Tell Me…’ being ‘A Distant Shore’ for coders. Well, quite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s