Everything but the Girl
1996: Atlantic 82912-2
Sometimes when I play this I think of Shaw, who introduced me to it, and I get very sad for days long gone when we were both happy in our lives and how so much of his circumstances crashed down on him shortly after this (and I am still amazed and impressed that he survived it all and regrouped enough to grab some happiness back for himself). And sometimes I just get sad about the songs themselves, their elegantly dysfunctional themes twisting my brain something fierce. The most beautiful on the album, for me, is probably Good Cop Bad Cop, with Big Deal nipping at its heels for the top spot in the darkness. If The Heart Remains a Child werent right there after Single, providing some relatively light perspective, the bitter sandwich of Wrong, Single, and Walking Wounded would be so lethally chilling .
I also love the fact that when Shaw played it for me I had never heard anything quite like it: elegant and sophisticated, vocals somewhere between laid-back and tearfully confessional, over this soundscape of electronic machinery and mock-rustic recording noise. It all added up to such a cocktail of introspective alienation and isolation that I was quite awed by it actually, I couldnt listen to it in an offhand manner, it required my complete attention and got it. It still does, Im pleased to say.
This is however the only EBTG album I own; Ive never been particularly fond of Tracy Thorns voicenot repelled either, mind youbut if I hear that this album isnt such a one-off beauty and that some of the rest of their catalogue is up to this level of chilling art, maybe Ill unbend a bit and try a little more.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.