Monday, September 21, 2015

When the Wife's Away, Scritti Politti Will Play

Mrs. LTL is off on another jaunt to the Bay Area. Given the reaction to the last post in this ongoing series, I'm guessing you would like to see her business travel greatly reduced. The other day I learned from the Swede and Friend of Rachel Worth that, in general, the British people aren't big fans of holiday albums, but FORW did put in the good word for Tracey Thorn's 'Tinsel and Lights.' That got me thinking about Ms. Thorn's duet with Green Gartside on that LP. "Snow in Sun" is a real highlight that works any time of year. Let's listen to the original version found on the Scritti Politti album 'White Bread Black Beer.'

The song has a little bit of a Brian Wilson thing going, and I always thought it should have been a proper single. Instead, it was officially released only as a double A-sided digital download. I'll give you a moment to let that ridiculous description settle in your craniums. Anyway, this was a great time to be a fan of Gartside's. As you know, he had returned to Rough Trade after 23 years, and 'White Bread Black Beer' was the first Scritti Politti album since 1999. The LP was celebrated by most critics and nominated for the 2006 Mercury Prize. At the awards show, Green performed "Snow and Sun" with a new band. The vocals, obviously, were complex, and the group was noticeably nervous. So, this might not have been their finest hour, but it sure was nice to see Gartside performing again. After the song, he was presented with his trophy for being nominated. Gartside said something about how the award was going to look nice in his attic.

I loved 'White Bread Black Beer' when it came out, and I still rank it highly in the Scritti Politti library. This was really a Gartside solo album, however, and I still hold out hope he will work with David Gamson and Fred Maher on another long player someday.

"Snow in Sun"


Echorich said...

Gorgeous! Yes, there are some "Wilsonesque" SoCal harmonies going on on Snow In The Sun - a bit of XTC English Pop Pastoralism (I must have just made that word up) as well.
What I really love about it is the innocence imbued in Green's performance. The final coda is a nice rolling bass skank as well.
Am I Right In Thinking is one of my favorite Scritti songs. It feels like it may have come from as far back as Provision or Cupid & Psyche, but I will admit to not really knowing it's origin.

Anonymous said...

There was a rush of activity around this time and I thought it might prompt a more regular release cycle. The gap is now bigger than that between A&B and WBBB!.
Good call re xtc comparison

George said...

I listened all the way through, Brian. All the way through. I found it quite a pleasant listen.

Brian said...

Thank you, George. I can't ask for more than that.