If you like your music a little more personal than normal, this album has everything. It has the multi textures of Maximilian Hecker and the warm vocals and building soundscapes of a more lo-fi Elbow. In no small part due to its blunt lyrics, the songs are often deceptively simple until you really listen to what’s going on in the background, and the wave of ambience hits you in the face - most notably on the ethereal Song About Someone.
Some of the lyrics take a painfully poignant new role considering the tragic circumstances - James, one half of the duo, was killed in a car accident before the album’s completion. From the same crash, his recording partner Jamie (whose bedroom is where the album was pinned down) was left hospitalised but eventually saw the album through to the end. A Nice Drive says ”no one survived, no one’s alive, everybody’s dead”, while “with both legs broken and my hands behind my back, I’m crippled and I’m helpless” in on Song For A Superhero. Read into that what you will.
Since I Was A Little Girl have that story but don’t need the sympathy vote; Good Morning Sunshine… And Goodnight is a unique listening experience. Yellow Aeroplane (Like Yellow Submarine, But Different… And Better) injects a little much-needed humour into the proceedings while She’s OK Tomorrow rocks it up slightly, but the strength of the CD is the sheer number of heartbreakingly beautiful tunes: Stuff’s Just Not Working Out, They Saved My Life, and especially the multi-part vocals of For The Girl I’ve Never Met. Then you can throw into the mix the guitar’n’voice intro of Good Morning Sunshine, the spooky blues of Red Rock, and the weepy piano’n’voice ending of …And Goodnight.
Pop music is great. Some of it. The vast majority of it, however, is spat out by corporate marketing machines, with teams of songwriters over a single album, the songs already in place for the pretty singers to warble over. While this process has barfed forth some of the most memorable moments in music history, it has no soul, it’s not organic and may as well have been recorded by robots.
While that seems like stating the bleedin’ obvious, it needs saying to put a record like this into perspective. This is one the polar opposite to the pop machine; a record of incredible depth, made by two people without world domination ideas, making music just for the sake of… making music. The biggest shame is that this is their only album: “this was just the beginning of something special.”