Wednesday, 2 April 2008

GRAND NATIONAL: By The Time I Get Home There Won't Be Much Of A Place For Me

There's nothing that makes me want to go out into the world more than big hunkin' chunks of piano, especially when said big hunkin' chunks are the song's hook, since it makes me think of prime Associates, not to mention peak ABC and Dollar (look out for imminent extraordinary comeback by ABC, by the way). Add a tunnel of slowly but determinedly rotating synth bass and there's the Be Music 1983 sound again; but the song's central angst is slightly Tiga and expressly 2008.

Much of Grand National's second album A Drink And A Quick Decision (subtitled "She's Gone"?) is undulating, meditative post-electro pop, recalling a disillusioned Duffy (the one who went on to form the Lilac Time; let us be absolutely clear on this unambiguous point) or shadowy never-quite-made-it names like M Craft, but this is the single; the gist of systematic exclusion is just about tangible but the words and sentiments are never quite demisted, even if the early plaintive cry of "No one is alive" could act as a very belated sequel to Thomas Dolby's "Windpower" (which latter concludes with Radio 2 newsreader Jon Marsh reading out the shipping forecast against swirling post-nuclear winds). But in the chorus there's a polite suggestion of gladness that the singer has to move on, or elsewhere, since whatever world this happens to be is clearly squeezing out his options, his difference ("When I go to see them/We talk about nothing"); stray telephone bells or cries or constant radio keeps reminding him of this nothingness. "There ain't gonna be enough space for me," he surmises, and eventually disappears to admit fuzzed snarls of synth-bass and a final foray of rattling echoes. But that huge, emotionally rich piano keeps all possible doors open. The parties, however, fear these two.