When Hollywood buys the rights to the greatest dark fantasy novel ever written, Feline Alchemy, the producers will make many unforgivable mistakes with regard to the script; this is a given. I have, however, managed to provide a bullet-proof soundtrack for the ensuing motion picture. Each song is not only groovy in its own right, but also provides insight and commentary on the associated chapter. It’s kind of like opera, really, except it’s good.
Chapter 17 – Sparklehorse, Painbirds
“Spiral down those hateful dears.”
No other band’s music has such a sense of fragility about it. Beautiful songs stutter, fall over and abruptly dissolve in confusion. You get the impression that the band, essentially Mark Linkous, is never entirely convinced, always trying to second guess itself and rarely satisfied with the outcome. It acts as a kind of antidote to the brash self-assurance the music industry generally assumes by right.
Chapter 18 – The Cardigans – I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need To Be Nicer
“It’s been a long, slow collision.”
I seem to remember people found it tempting to be dismissive of The Cardigans. There was the huge success that tied-in with the video game Gran Turismo. There was Nina Persson’s beauty. These things aren’t authentic; they’re not sufficiently real in indie parlance, and so people like to get cynical. Fortunately, flawless pop is immune to cynicism. Nor is it interested in appearing authentic. Tunes, glamour and wit inevitably win the argument.
Before Chapter 19 – Echo and the Bunnymen, Rescue
“Is this the blues I’m singing?”
When modern pop music was invented in Liverpool in the 60s the shadow cast by Messrs L & M over the local bands who followed in their wake was always destined to be daunting. Echo and the Bunnymen was the band that came closest to relishing, and living up to, that challenge. Rescue is one of the band’s earliest songs and shows how they evolved fully formed, without a tousled hair out of place and with pouting lips ready for the adoring masses.
End Credits – Spacemen 3, Transparent Radiation
“Uttering words about the turning tide.”
And as the lights dim on the set of Feline Alchemy, credits rolling, we need a suitably offbeat, uplifting and elegant epic on which to finish before we all emerge blinking into the light, to face the music in the real world once again. Transparent Radiation was written by The Red Krayola, a wilfully uncommercial, idealistic, hippy collective, and was made perfect by Spacemen 3. It seems to me to be an ideal song to have playing if you ever find yourself being burned at the stake – I can picture Joan of Arc listening to this on her Walkman as the flames lick ever higher.