Monday, August 02, 2004

"The voice is a miracle..."

Tonight I visited an old friend. I've ran across this friend many times but I'm ashamed to say I overlooked them, leaving them to gather dust, so to speak. I simply passed them by without even acknowledging their existance. We were never that close, really, passing aquaintances is perhaps a better term.

But there was a time when I listened to what they said, and enjoyed their company. Even then, however, it was always in smallish doses. There were times when they genuinely "wowed" me, and really made me think. Sometimes I was touched by their sentiments, sometimes they scared the hell out of me. Other times I just couldn't be bothered. And over the years, I couldn't be bothered more and more.

So tonight I walked across that burning bridge and reaquainted myself with The Legendary Pink Dots.

I wasn't planning to. Simply, I closed my eyes for a moment, then reached out into the CD collection and pulled something out. I thought to myself, "If you don't want to play it--don't want to hear it--then get rid of it." And with that, I opened my eyes to stare at The Legendary Pink Box.

"Hmmmmm....not sure I want to listen to this one," I said to myself, but then the other part of me said, "Okay, if you don't want to hear it, get rid of it." So I thought it best to give it a spin before consigning it to the Half.com or eBay pile.

The Legendary Pink Dots are not everyone's cuppa. In fact, a lot of the time they aren't mine either. There are a few songs that I think are otherworldly, like "Waiting For The Cloud" from 1987's Any Day Now. Just thinking about that song give me chills. I loved listening to it when I was in college, and I still spin Any Day Now occasionally. I hadn't played The Legendary Pink Box, however, in YEARS.

Partly it's Edward Ka-Spiel's voice that grates on me. He's wistful and haughty, contigulously, plus he's got that clipped British accent mixing with the Dutch "r" that sounds like a "w" going on all the time. Words like "river" sound more like "wiva," which shouldn't bug me....but does.

Then there's the music. Most of it is synthesizer driven, and can veer from cheesy to spacey to downright wicked in the span of a four minute song. And I guess that's what I love about The Legendary Pink Dots. The music can swerve from soaring and gay to plummeting into the depths of dispair and hell, all in a matter of moments. That's exactly why I love "Waiting For The Cloud" as I do. There is so much gloom wafting about....but then the synthesized organ and trumpet come in around the fourth minute and it's like a tiny ray of light winking at me across a barren, radiation-swept landscape. Fucking amazing.

But "Waiting For The Cloud" isn't on The Legendary Pink Box. A lot of other worthy songs are, however. And although I won't visit them very often, it's good to have them around. The Dots' slogan, which is printed on every one of their releases (and also on Edward Ka-Spiel's solo efforts) is a good one to know and remember....

"Sing While You May."