#20: The Dears – Lost In The Plot (2003)
Were I a cynical, misanthropic, drunken music snob (stop sniggering at the back), I could fashion a pretty damning appraisal of this song. It’s ridiculously derivative; you don’t so much gain an insight into this band’s record collection as have to close your eyes – lest the swash of over-sincere British indie from the eighties and nineties comes crashing across your perception as if the advancing hoards of a marauding goblin army. The guitar licks are straight out of Bernard Butler’s Big Book Of Rudimentary Riffs, the annunciation more River Thames than St Lawrence Seaway (The Dears are from Montréal – Geography Ed). It is, in short, exactly the type of record that I’d usually dismiss; not simply a victory for style over substance, but the style in question belongs to someone else.
That I’m not obeying gut feeling and writing about Talking Heads’ ‘Once In A Lifetime’… that ‘Lost In The Plot’ supersedes all the cynicism and the misanthropy and the music snobbery (though maybe not the alcohol dependency) – it’s an indication of pull, of intoxication, of the particular dynamics that evocation demands. From the drama of the opening chord slant onwards, a connection is made. Hairs on napes of necks stand erect; Take me for a drive to the coastline. Pull me to the depths of the sea – I’m still to fully decide what it is about that opening couplet that alerts every receptor hiding away in the LGM head attic, but am very aware that this record leaves me kind of breathless, like an indie boy gone wrong. For a track that flaunts its influences so brazenly, ‘Lost In The Plot’ works on so many levels; the passionate inflexions that underpin Murray Lightburn’s vocal. The sweeping warmth of chord changes and time signature subversions. The elemental elegance of momentum. The keyboards. A package of life affirming intensity – yeah, I’m glad I’ve featured this. And I promise not to cry any more.
The Dears / Lost In The Plot