How NOT to write about music – 119. Chromatics


The song stands out. The band don’t even bother to mask it. The insistent, lovingly-caressed, two-note guitar, all warm fuzz and intonation; the insistent, one-dimensional drum beat reduced to an Atari-era beep; the drawn-out vocals and implied harmonies and lovingly-left silences; the overwhelming debt to The Velvet Underground but also the inspired stripping away of all that is extraneous, all that does not matter; the simple lyrics; the occasional refrain or chorus if you feel like calling it that; the sly dig reference to all of rock’s archaic forms and origins; the unconscious reiteration of themes already well worn by the time the second album came out; the spaces, the silences, the warm buzz and purr of the fuzz pedal; the knowledge that less is more, that simple cuts through, that loss is more poignant than gain…

There is a new Chromatics album out. I like it. I like it quite a lot. I like nothing on it half as much as I like their cover of this Jesus And Mary Chain song from Darklands, though. And I like nothing on Darklands half as much as I like this cover. There is nowhere to go from here, but inward. There is nowhere to go from here, but down. There is nowhere to go from here.

I did not need to check it was a cover, it is so clearly a replicant of a replicant. Ironic, really. I believe that is the word I am looking for.

Just like honey. Simply thrilled. Gorgeous. The Mary Chain always were their own worst enemy. Don’t bother going back to listen to the original. It has already been spoiled for all eternity.

The Pitchfork review gives it 7.1 and fails to mention the album’s greatest song. Sigh.