Secret Album 3


It is sunny – very sunny. An acoustic guitar gallops like an eager horse. You hear everything clearly – the air is white, the ground is cream. The world is clean and it sparkles in a beautiful cool morning. Perhaps you have been awake all night. Everything is good.

You quickly slow down. The rhythm section clocks the singer like a mechanical doll. The voice is strung on the beat like a diaphanous summer dress. The air of melancholy is so sweet as to make you stoned. So much pleasure in such easy pain.

Folk-picking circles around a pretty motif. A new voice undermines its whimsicality with hints of unhappiness. You are pushed into a show-tune. There could be a chorus line, a can-can and glitter covered top-hats. These are up people for an up time. The overarching flavour is smooth. You begin to feel a little nauseous.

The clinical positivity continues but you feel something stinging in the delivery. There’s a cynicism and an angst bordering on hatred. Lovers leave and lie and loathe. Droning electric guitar themes twist around the upholstered groove. The angels’ harmonies harangue men’s one-track minds.

You are mildly distracted by some charming English balladry – elegant and stately, it improves the clapboard architecture. But the boys in the boiler room want their say and return in their laid-back fashion. The warmest thump in the business, solid and subtle like an unpolished oak dance-floor. You could have a ball but people keep singing about their own private resentments, their need to be uncaged.

There are strange conflations of ugly rock riffing and pastoral lyricism. But in a way, everything sounds the same: it has been homogenised. It can be drunk in one long gulp like a milkshake laced with good rum.

The sun is still spreading its beneficence everywhere. You imagine languid hours on white hotel sheets, naked together in the gentle breeze that is swelling and lifting the curtains. The prevailing mood is a lazy decadence. But there are murmurs and something is awry in the garden of delight that you can’t quite pinpoint in all this relentless perfection.

You reach the end unsatisfied but a little haunted as if the candy-floss was spun from spiders’ webs and cocaine. You are so relaxed you could scream. Someone is screaming.  All the brightness turns to dusk, there is a cloud in front of the sun.