Grounds For Divorce

You want to play this LOUD!

I pulled into the Chevron station on Santa Monica Boulevard and I couldn’t turn off the stereo, they were playing this track by Elbow on Sirius Spectrum.

I gave Elbow a chance a few years back, their music didn’t grip me…but this reminds me of listening to a bootleg copy of "Aqualung" in a dark dorm room at Middlebury before it came out. Oh, "Grounds For Divorce" doesn’t sound anything like Jethro Tull’s signature album, but it does have an otherworldly quality. This doesn’t fit Top Forty, it’s a square peg in the round hole of Hot AC, but if you ever liked prog rock, if you enjoyed the synth experiments of the eighties, you’ll find this oddly gripping and appealing.

The vocal is like David Byrne without the yelp, and richer, but almost as strange. The instrumentation has got the feel of a factory, almost like the groove of Pete Townshend’s "Let’s See Action", but updated, grittier. There’s no optimism in this track, it’s made by people who’ve seen too much, been burned too many times, it’s like the soundtrack to "Blade Runner", if that movie were made today.

Maybe it’s the soundtrack to a David Fincher flick. It’s just that in your face, yet strange.

We’ve debated ad infinitum who said "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.", I say Zappa, you say Costello, but in any event, why don’t you just check this out.

I’d say your best bet is YouTube:

Elbow – Grounds For Divorce
I don’t believe in watching music, but you can hear it here.

You can also go to the band’s site, but I found the video stuttered until I stopped it and started it again. But definitely check out the site. I don’t believe in Flash, I believe in utility, but there’s something absouletely cool about the design. After the page loads, roll your mouse over the letters, listen to the sounds, and ultimately figure out how to clarify the pop-up lettering so you can read it. It’s like a video game, no instructions, you’ve got to mess around a bit to figure the site out. I’m normally against this shit, but there is something cool here.

And why are the English acts cool in a way that the Americans are not? Maybe they’re just not as self-conscious, maybe the audience cares, there’s just not the desperate "Look at me! I’m trying to make it!" quality in this music. You’re not put off, you’re drawn in. Check it out.

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