One of the disadvantages with using iTunes as your primary music-playing source is that all of your music is clearly laid out for you. If you want to jump straight to your copy of Chas and Dave’s Gertcha, all you need to do is a quick keyword search. If you want to scroll through everything until that Abba Dub Remix album leaps out at you, that’s easy too.
It’s just not the same as manually sorting through a stack of CDs. The beauty of flipping through actual LPs is that, whilst looking for Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon by Status Quo, you may well stumble upon that The Decline Of British Sea Power disc you’d forgotten about and play that instead.
It might be apt at this point to observe that only the truly anal alphabetise a music collection. There’s a zen skill in keeping a randomised collection and remembering what each colour each CD’s spine has, and slowly scanning hundreds of them for one with off-mauve-yellow and red writing.
Shockingly, this exact scenario was played out in slow, agonising detail in my living room just last night. And what an album of British Sea Power’s that is (yellow-spined, by the way). Complicatedly crazy, beautifully melodic and deliberately obtuse all at once – I was so pleased to have rediscovered it.
The CD of Today’s New Band, Meringue, Alcohol and Us, is sand-coloured; CD-owning readers can commit that fact to memory now for future reference.
The band is French, (though they sing in English). All of the best meringues I have ever eaten have been whilst in France, and MAAU’s songs are similarly sweet, light and delicious. Their song Rollercoaster is closer to a gentle weave and bob around on a bike in a country lane than screaming and thundering around a metal contraption, but it drives forward with the same carefree impetus.
Love and Pets weaves more and more cutely honeyed instruments into the mix until a mandolin welcomes a chorus of freewheeling, downtrodden fun. Purple Dreams isn’t about diminutive, squeaky 80’s rock gods, but does manage to make a newly-discovered journey from light crooning over tinkling glockenspiels to angsty howling.
If you’ve ever been to France, you’ll identify Meringue, Alcohol and Us‘ deft jauntiness as being uniquely Gallic. They’re the band you’d like to listen to in a bar on a Friday evening after a long first week back at work in the New Year. Just like this one. So listen here!