Of Steve Jobs’ many achievements, perhaps his most successful product, the iPod, also harboured his most unhelpful unhelpful: the driving-down of musical attention spans to a fraction of what they once were.
Why listen to a whole album when you can just skip to the single? And why listen to the verse when it’s simple to spool ahead to the chorus? It’s just to easy to skip from highlight to highlight; all peaks and no troughs.
So how would a teenager brought up on this tid-bit mentality cope with a song like Asahiyama by Menagerie – a song that never ponders or drags, but nonetheless takes its time to get up to speed?
At five minutes in length, this song is an ice-age in pop terms, and covers as much ground as a glacier grunting its way to the sea. The beauty of the slow build is laid bare in Asahiyama – and we are all rewarded for our patience.
Jabbering basslines weave into caramelised melodies, icy and warm all at once. When the vocals eventually creep in, they are a pleasant shock – simply because, until then, their absence won’t be noticed.
Menagerie has a pace from another time, and slows us all down to it. Excellent.