Near Death Experience - Harry Howard and The Near Death Experience (Spooky)
Wonderful. I love pop, especially smart, intelligent, literate pop. In one sense this LP is kinda like discovering one of those '60s gems at the back of your older brother's collection and realising ... this is just fucking perfect. In timeless pop style, I cannot pick my favourite song. And I keep playing the thing. Over and over.
I'm too old for this ain't I?
(Creaks joints and shuffles arthritically around the room, waving arms like a feeble supplicant.)
In the left corner, we have the rhythm section (Dave'n'Clare) setting up a simple, powerful backup. Dangerous, but their savagery is held magnificently in check. It's the potential which counts here. In the right, Ed handles keys, stylophone and backing vox, and without her the balance would falter. In the middle, the referee, Harry Howard, whose fault this is. Incidentally, this Howard family do seem to be terribly talented.
Like all great pop, first you want to dance and then you find yourself singing along. The next day finds you whistling odd snatches and annoying the cat.
There's a lot of humour here, in the music as well as the lyrics, but you don't want to listen to that, fuck it you just want to dance. NO, I'm not going to give you examples you lazy bastard, go find out for yourself. Alright, then, take "All I Want To Do Is Shoot You Dead".... try not giggling to this one.
I watched video show Rage this morning. Fuck it's so lame. The usual predictable rubbish. I don't know why they call it pop. I remember the world before the Ramones. I remember the first time I heard the first LP (and yes, if you listen to it now it does seem terribly slow) and not thinking about it, but being incredibly excited. This was what rock 'n' roll was supposed to be. And then English punk turned up, with its fast pop beat, and then it ... morphed.
Kinda like what Harry's doing here. That morphed modern/retro thing. It's not all the same tempo, there's changes of direction, which we follow, giggling and forgetting to leave a trail of breadcrumbs; lost, fascinated with the little soap operas (but the kind you want to see, with lines like: "We can't go on when all I want to is shoot you dead').
This CD defies its current decade. You could be mistaken for thinking it was made in '78, or '84, or ... hell, 1969. If you marketed it with a lairy green and purple swirly cover and dancing hippies, you'd be as right on the money as if you'd slapped a deserted liverpool factory on instead. As I say, go buy (no, I mean it, actually buy the cd) it, crack up the volume and dance like a dickhead. When you get tired, the slower song will come on, then they'll haul you up on your feet again.
Then make sure you see the band. Over and over. Get everything you can find signed by the band. Buy them drinks and drugs and invite them home. Make them lasagne and offer to pay their children's school fees, their rent. Buy them gift after gift. Pray they make another record - and another and another.
Why buy the CD? 1) Feel like a human being, and you'll have something to stick under the band's nose to sign and they won't think you're cheap; 2) lovely, romantic front cover artwork; 3) you get to examine the small photos of the band as they try to get a decent photo session together. Some of the background expressions are worth the price of admission alone; 4) you get to read a fabulous quote from Lewis Carroll; 5) you get to see Rowland S. Howard referred to as 'giddy'; 6) and just because you don't have anything better to spend your money on (except maybe a donation to Scott Morgan).
Sorry, Barman. Five fucking bottles. Oh, alright, four and a half, but only because I want to hear another 13 songs and they're not on there. No, five bottles. Five, dammit. (Does rather pathetic stagger around the room, joints creaking like a rotting yacht)