Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Violet Town

by fandorin

I was warned. I had asked the Music Sage who introduced me to The Church for a kind of commented band history/discography (no internet, no wikipedia, no entry in Encyclopedia Britannica, remember?) - and I got one I still keep. It was a cool little introduction to their music, but I had only two records, so the rest of the music happened in my imagination. It was all praise and great descriptions - except for Remote Luxury. Keywords: keyboards, weird experiments that didn't suit the music, and in spite of some "beautiful pop songs like A Month Of Sundays, 10.000 Miles and No Explanation" he still "didn't know what they wanted to tell me with Violet Town and Maybe These Boys". So. Well. So in my mind, there must have been some horrendous aberrations of songs, and I - a child easy to impress - was almost scared to check them out on record. If I could have one... because they were hard to find, except for some CD hiring shop, where I could get hold of Remote Luxury to make a copy on cassette. My tape had Rhyme on the other side, and i took it with me on a school trip to Paris (lots of time, little room in the bus).
So I listened to Remote Luxury while driving through a wonderfully ugly country called "Belgium", it was night, it was raining, and - I was totally amazed by a great opener, and, a little scared, Violet Town started playing.

Insistent, almost primitive drum beats and there was that creepy keyboard crawling into the song, two chords and a clockticking guitar rhythm. Very sparse, but strangely expansive and lugubrious, despite the childlike melody. Pure suspense. That sudden shift to a hellish minor empire in the chorus like a total eclipse of the sun, and the dissolving clouds again, letting a creepy sunlight back into the song. The contrast - verse vs. chorus is very Jekyll & Hyde. Plus a Bunuelish surreal vision of a suburb completely painted in violet with barking dogs and flying papers. I would have loved a Godley & Creme video clip; and I still haven't figured out how this quite simple song creates such an insistent, large vision, but maybe that's how my brain is wired.

Summary - no need to fear the synths of Remote Luxury. It's true, they're losing the rock, but the roll is very very heavy.

addendum - it's a great song to play on acoustic guitar, though it's a completely different beast then.


chrome3d said...

Belgium is a strange country and I don´t see something like Violet Town happening there.

glynnisjohns said...

I love this song, always have.