20 April 2013

Honey Hi / Tusk

Up until about two weeks ago, I knew nothing about this track, this album or even Fleetwood Mac. I remember the tall guy fucking up The Brits with Sam Fox and my Dad getting Tango In The Night for Christmas in 1987 and I can recall the sleeve of Rumours from years of 2nd hand record shop flicking but that was it. Fleetwood Mac were a group that just passed me, that slipped between cracks I had no real intention of looking in.

But then I heard this:

and it sounded so alone that I had to seek out the album. It's still my favourite track on Tusk but I'm working on it. I mean, this is really not my kind of thing, I'm very skeptical about this degree of musicality usually but this track and this album feels different than I expected it to and almost all my favourite albums are like that, in whatever genre. Growers get there in the end.

Sometimes, it's just a word, or the placement of a word in the mix; sometimes it's like a hypnotic suggestion and it just drags you into a new world (I understand that hypnosis isn't about unintentionality). I can't place what it is about Honey Hi. The drums are oddly recorded and the singing is fairly crisp but yet still sounds slurred and it seems to exude a beautiful kind of absence that really made me think that this song, this record even might be what drugs sound like when no one's trying to make a drug record.

It's not an acid record. The transitions between the tracks are the wrong kind of jarring, the moods are constant but clipped, like the songs were put in the wrong track order... deliberately. But opium would do it a service / it would do opium a service (I know, of course - I have the Internet - that really it's a cocaine album and that Honey Hi itsef is quite possibly mostly an alcohol song but I'm never one to be overly distracted by the awful truth when the impressions can light fires) because on more than a few of the songs on the album - it sort of sprawls but not in the way I'd have guessed when hearing that Fleetwood Mac made a double album at the height of Post-Punk - they sound like everyone's playing and singing just a fraction too slow; the slur comes from a genuine collapse in chronology rather than the usual druggie drawl.

The drums could have been recorded by Martin Hannett, they sound that bad.

Even the guitars sound like they're trying to catch up to something that's just out of their reach.

And the melodies, the hooks? Well, they sort of appear, here and there, but it's like they appear over the course of a number of tracks rather than within each of them so perhaps that's why the mood appears constant and jarring. I don't know, I might be hearing things (I am) but there is something about the simplicity of this album that makes it seem very complicated and, as such, it reminds me a little of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue.

So, anyway, I'm digging around a little bit (fans of this blog will know how meticulously researched it is) and there's people making a better fist of this than me (I'm writing this and I haven't even heard the whole album yet), including the ever-reliable Marcello at Then Play Long and even Simon Reynolds at his Retro (Mmm) site.

Actually, I'm just reading the Reynolds stuff now and he seems to dismiss Honey Hi entirely, the naughty boy...

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