We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves and Bloody Vengence

Time, it seems, really does change everything.

And having recently re-watched Taxi Driver, a movie that I viewed with greedy regularity as a teen, this truism was emphasised in a famously bloody manner. I used to regard Travis Bickle simply as a gun-happy nut-case – but this time he seemed a gun-happy nut-case for whom I felt vast pangs of sympathy and empathy.

This is a fairly major volte-face, but such is life’s ever-bewildering array of unexpected re-alignments. Take 80’s jangle-Indie, a genre of music that always had a foot firmly planted on the twin touchstones of miserablism and quasi-reluctant fun – but for its exponents at the time, probably only provided doses of one or the other.

Maybe We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves can utilise the chasm of time between then and now to recognise this and appreciate both at once. Their moniker is clearly ironic, or at least hopelessly misguided – songs like Miss Maris Morris is the sound of a band half-shaking off the societal shackles of self-consciousness and having a thoroughly good time.

Lifting sounds liberally and smartly from The Smiths‘ fey pop jangle, the song jerks with awkward abandon from one breathless, clammy chord-change to the next.

The bass is elastic and sprightly with puppy-dog enthusiasm, and the words are yelped with the happily careless nature of someone who is confident the world isn’t listening – except of course, that the world is listening, and they know it. Don’t let them fool you, too – We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves are a rousing, cheerful blast.


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