Sunday, September 06, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #88: Lights Out for Darker Skies by British Sea Power

Full Details of the BIBJ Millennial Playlist Hullabaloo are available here. Today's entry is #88: Lights Out for Darker Skies by British Sea Power(2008)

When your uninsulated, paper walls aren't separating you from your neighbors there's one place to go: Deo Deo.

For about 1000 Yen you can pick up a pair of pleather-bound, over the ears headphones. At least you could when you were a mere expatriated chap forging out an adulthood in Fukuyama.

Oh, what a decade can do to some plastic and wires.

Those same headphones are now withering, still technologically sound but the general appearance is a bit embarrassing. For over a year, they've left tiny bits of black on your ears so your listening doth not disturb the latest episode of Ace of Cakes. Two nights ago you went to strap them on and one aural muff simply fell completely off. It might be time for a new pair...or a new metaphor.

* * *

Practically a decade ago I was awash in new music. College will do that to you. Summerteeth pushed me fully into my post-punk days and the ethereal Reinhold Messner allowed me to accept the unexpected. Frankinatra, a now-defunct pre-blog website, was still piping out the likes of Beulah and the Magnetic Fields on its mix tapes, while frequent trips to a used record - yes the 33 1/3 kind - store on the third floor of Caspa made me regret not owning a turntable while I sifted yet again through the myriad of CD's from the Jayhawks and Velvet Underground.

Music came easily. And went.

* * *

"Lights Out for Darker Skies" is a microcosmic sample of my current musical pursuits. I can hear the influence of multiple decades from the on-again, off-again lead guitar melodies to the post-modern mash-up of hyphenated genres. At times flirting with an OK Computer-esque use of movements but falling reliably back into the verse-chorus-verse realm of the Pixies, it's got a bit for everyone. And just for good measure, BSP throws in the obtuse lyric hither and yon

Welcome for the day or stay forever,
There's things which we all need to navigate
Daisy chains of lights around the city now,
They glow but never quite illuminate,
So dance like sparks from the muzzle

Wishy washy grasps of the present. Homages to the band name. Unsafe electrical practices. Some might begin to agree with those in snarkademia and think this is just an also-ran amalgam of indie rock. But there's something here.

I think I was finally sold at the four-minute mark where I was willing to muddle through something as flirtatiously trite as "We walked under neon skies" to hear the disparate players frenetically coalesce to remind me, "Hey now, now. Oh the future's bright."

Feel the return of those Brit-pop/Manchester/Cure-ish guitar riffs and I've found a song to like for no other reason than it sounds good in my ears.

Hey now now. Oh the future's bright.

* * *
It's a 2007 weekday evening, sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 and Marketplace is on NPR. They've used some bump music that sounds incredibly familiar, but a quick glance at the website and visit to the iStore proves that what's old is new again and what you thought was, was not, but is.

Time to strap on those feeble, old headphones and realize that despite your fading musical relevance, providence is bringing you good music albeit through listener-supported radio and not the hip kid in ENG 409.

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