Title: These Are Your Friends
Format: 10" Single
Catalogue Number: RUG178T
Year of Release: 2004
Audiences in Aberdeen are phenomenally rude. Famous for it, apparently.
However, I bought this 10" single in the wonderful Probe Records in Liverpool, partly to assuage my feelings of guilt for having downloaded, and enjoyed, the album Homesongs for nowt. Another part of me thought that vinyl was, once again, the way forward; but mostly I bought it because there are tracks on the single that aren't on the album - which, if you're a 45 fan is always a winner.
And rarely has the amount of £4.99 been better spent as on this single.
OK, detractors may say that there's a cheesy element to the lyrics of the A-side (I think you can still get these on www.adem.tv) - 'your friends are your star-map home', they 'give out a nice warm glow' (I can imagine his frinds afterwards saying to him "What kind of glow do we give out Adem", "Erm... a nice, warm one?". I haven't had Readybrek for years, come to think of it) and so on.
But when, about 3 minutes in, the line 'Everybody needs some help, sometimes' kicks in, and repeats... and repeats... and builds... it's like Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, or even, though I'm possibly exaggerating here, I See A Darkness (maybe Cash's Hurt instead?)... the point is, it's a damn good song, and much better written than many a Top 40 single, whilst being accessible enough to play to your granny - and I should know, because Edna was up here recently, and it went down quite well. DJ OAP in the house.
As for the B-sides, they be threefold. After the Storm is a good strummalong thing, bit forgettable, but nice enough, bit of Sufjan-like banjo accompaniment - but he's missed a trick with the (tunnel interlude) track though, I think. Brian Eno made a career out of leaving ideas like this to gestate over an hour - here you get about 30 seconds of what could be heavily-effected guitar, could be violin, sounds a bit like the intro to the Get Carter theme tune, but who knows what it is? Lovely, gentle, caressing, then gone. A wraith of an idea that could have been a full-flown haunting, with chains, bells and whistles akimbo. Sadly, not to be, unless someone fashions a lockgroove or tape-loop out of it. Might do that meself, actually.
Let It Burn finishes the single on a (low) high. A great song about forgetting the past (unless I'm very much mistaken, could be a pyro thing). Simple instrumentation, a plucked thumb-piano runs throughout - if that's what they're called - some glockenspiels, sparse guitar and bass, and the refrain 'Let it burn, let it burn, let all the dead things burn'. Slow and low, beautiful.
A damn fine single - I say again, a must-buy, if I had a spare, you could have one of mine.
As to the crowds of Aberdeen - we saw Adem recently as part of the Triptych Festival, and, being the contrary buggers we are, we went to Aberdeen to see the bands rather than stay where we actually live, in Edinburgh, to watch them - the line-up is much the same, except, of the few bands that can be arsed coming to Scotland, even fewer can be bothered leaving the laughably-titled 'central belt' and going further North into the heathen wastelands of Aberdeen. Having said that, we had a pretty good time. What ruined it was the audiences.
Must they talk through everything? Are they only at the gig for the want of something better to do?
I thought The Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh was bad enough, where, if you don't fight for a view (and your life) up at the front, you're stuck at the back with the journo liggers propping the bar up, talking amongst (and about) themselves and paying no attention to whoever is actually on, but in Aberdeen they have taken ignoring a band you have paid to see to new, astonishing heights. Most annoying. Adem played These Are Your Friends last, and was almost shouting the refrain at the end - word of advice, the half-whispered desparation of the single version is far more emotive.
Did I say to buy this single? Please do.