Monday, 4 February 2008

Johnny Cash died today, and you say "It's not like Elvis though, is it?"...

The Wave Pictures "Now You Are Pregnant"

I first heard about The Wave Pictures when I saw Darren Hayman play upstairs at a pub in Leeds late last year. Unlike the majority of those who hear them for the first time, I wasn't overly taken, and went downstairs to get a drink and some fresh air. If I'd stayed, I would have been subjected to the kind of jangly indiepop that I hold so dear, with a lyrical flair that tends to have me swooning by the PA system after the first witty couplet. Bully for me then, really.

Still, I couldn't shake the feeling like I needed to seek them out further, and picked up their debut Moshi Moshi 7" (their previous releases - and there are many - were mostly self-released affairs) on my last day back home in London. "We Dress Up Like Snowmen", billed as the main feature, most likely because it's a faster one, was a nice enough Modern Lovers-esque chugger, with some wonderfully nasal vocals and the odd funny line here and there ("I went to the movies...FOR THREE YEARS"). It was alright; passable stuff, but it didn't really encourage me to flip the vinyl over the examine the delights on the other side...

I'm glad I did though - "Now You Are Pregnant" is one of the most heartbreaking songs I missed out on last year. A countrified waltz-time ballad, it comes over like one of the best songs Hefner never wrote, with some exquisite wordplay thrown in for good measure ("Stacks and stacks of slacks and black platform shoes" in particular just rolls off the tongue), sung by a nasal, tone deaf Morrissey (and I mean that in the best possible way). There's a great deal of girl-based angst to be found here, but it falls on just the right side of the emo divide, and the whole thing ends with an extremely satisfying singalong that will irritate Johnny Cash fans the world over. In short, it's just plain gorgeous; a lush pop gem not to be missed.

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