Reviews - Week 56



It's Not You, It's Me- 7" Limited Edition Single

Go Metric! Records

Chime, rhythm and melody, perhaps the three most beautiful words in the English language; and 'It's Not You, It's Me' has all three by the bucketload. The opening sturdy tempo, underlying David Gedges scene setting narration soon gives way to the traditional blitzkrieg of scuzzball guitars over the chorus, before settling back down to the story. It's like a tempestuous moment mid-argument where you temporarily lose control. That split second of madness when your real feelings emerge, only to be suppressed as you wipe away the tears and grasp hold of the reins again. Abandon is thrown to the wind, only to be reeled back in in time for the next verse. It all works so well.

The lyrics are typical Gedge, the story one of another end of another relationship, where she uses the ultimate self-effacing put down 'It's not you, it's me..' yet still manages to seduce him on the doorstep for that one last pitiful roll in the hay.

Musically the track could easily be a companion to Cinerama's last studio offering 'Torino' - only a hint of keyboards and a more Wedding Presenty sound than their earlier work. However, the delicate chiming outro, as the fling finally implodes in on itself is simply magical. Simple, delicate arpeggios shimmer from your speakers leaving you in a state of awe. How do they make something so desperate sound so exciting?

Flip the vinyl to find 'Erinner Dich', the bands take on a German disco anthem originally by Klee, and in the mould of 'Reasonable', 'Superman' and 'Hard, Fast and Beautiful' the singer proves his linguistic versatility by tackling the song in it's native tongue.

This is a pulsating, throbbing disco pop track, but without the synthesisers and drum machines that it would certainly have had in 1982. It's a thrilling salvo of guitar driven fun, it's a sound that could have embodied the likes of Ultravox and the Thompson Twins had they had an ounce of integrity between them.

Now, down to the fine print. This single is released as a limited edition of just 1,500 copies, all on cream coloured vinyl in a screen printed sleeve - and that in itself makes it a truly exquisite item. The warm tones of vinyl, and faint crackle of the needle when I drop it into the groove transport me back to my teenage years, and what a journey it is.

The good people at Go Metric! Records have obviously put a lot of love into this project, and it shows. I know people don't go in for vinyl as much as they used to, but if you only buy one slab of plastic this year then make it this one.

Johnny Mac





'The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire'

Too Pure

It's probably been said many times before, but mclusky are not a band for the faint-hearted. Their first two albums ('My Pain And Sadness Is More Sad And Painful Than Yours' and 'Mclusky Do Dallas') showcased songwriting of the 'make your point as quickly and loudly as possible' school, along with lyrics that could be attacked as childishly offensive ("Fuck this band / Cos they swear too much / It's an obvious ploy / And irresponsible"). It's a rather fun mixture, done well, but carries with it the danger of being dismissed as a joke band in some quarters. It may not sound like it from the title, but their third record, 'The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire', goes some way to answering such accusations.

Indeed, at first the album carries on where '.Do Dallas' left off, opener 'Without MSG I Am Nothing' beginning with a chunky guitar riff and the seemingly meaningless line "Get Carter to the phone / Don't teach him how to cook / That'd kill him." First single 'That Man Will Not Hang' is another slice of vintage mclusky, with solid drums, urgent bass and aggressive vocals. It is only on 'She Will Only Bring You Happiness' that the change begins to show itself. Instead of being balls-out punk rock, it comes perilously close to being a pop song; singer Andy Falkous' vocals are shorn of their previous ebullience and there is a hint - even if it is just a hint - of a melody. As if to prove it's not an aberration, the similarly gentle 'Forget About Him I'm Mint' pops up later.

At the other end of the scale, mclusky also take the opportunity to rock harder than they have before. 'Lucky Jim' and 'Falco vs the Young Canoeist' are delivered at breakneck speed, whilst 'Slay!' drifts off into silence before hitting you with a wall of noise and shouting. It's something they maybe haven't yet been brave enough to try, and it certainly doesn't make for easy listening.

As such, 'The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire' marks a departure for the band. Darker and less accessible than its predecessors, it does not on the whole rely on catching the ear with a hook or an amusing lyric.Ultimately, though, those with the patience and ear to give it a few listens will be rewarded by an album to blow the cobwebs off anything. Some could see it as the start of mclusky growing up. They certainly have a long way to go before they're old and boring.

Grant Lakeland




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