Thursday 24 May 2012

Under The Iron Sea - Keane

Once again, I am following on a little from the previous post. In it I mentioned that hearing particular songs will always remind me of specific moments in time that have some link to the music being played. This is more often a case of, "it was playing at the time," rather than any lyrical importance.

This evening, I experienced something similar which is almost the reverse. A feeling reminded me of a moment in time, which then reminded me of music.

After several weeks of rubbish weather (even for England) where it has been difficult to believe that the sky can be anything except full of grey clouds, this week has suddenly provided us with sunshine and warmth. At least where I live, anyway. Typically, I've had to spend the majority of it at work so far but - still - it is nice that things are substantially brighter and far more summery. As I left home this evening, my senses picked up a combination of things that brought on the nostalgia-ride.

Firstly, the sun was starting to drop ever so slightly out of sight, casting long shadows, and giving everything a nice warm glow in contrast to the harsh brightness that was present for most of the day.

Secondly, the arrival of the evening had made the roads just a little quieter and I could make out other sounds besides the usual roar of traffic.

Thirdly, the warmth of the sun was combining with a constant, cooling breeze. Not too fast or cold to make things chilly. Just steady enough to take away any burning heat.

Lastly, but most evocatively of all, I got a whiff of the seaside. Or... hmm... the sea at night. And it was also like smelling the weather, if that makes any sense at all? To give the specifics (and, for me, the smell was very specific), the air smelt like a late night in the summer spent driving my car along the road by the seafront at Clacton-on-Sea. A memory I'd not revisited very much recently.

A few years back, my sleep-patterns were a little messed up. This was partly deliberate, and partly because I was genuinely tired at odd times of the day. As a result, I would often come home from work and sleep through the evening. I'd then wake up and decide to take a little drive in the local area. More often than not, at some very stupid hour. This was usually done once I'd made sure I had some music to listen to. The memory I recalled today was essentially just of myself, driving by the sea in Clacton, my window down so I could receive a gentle cool breeze, the moon reflecting on the water, the smell of the beach in the air as well as the general smell 'of a summer night'...

And me singing along to Keane's second album: 'Under The Iron Sea'.

It is an album that I rather quickly grew to adore. Initially, I was disappointed that it didn't sound quite like their first. But I was being stupidly naive in forgetting that, sometimes, it is better to push away from the expectation. So I started to listen to it constantly, and very quickly I became obsessed with it. Every song, every verse, every minute. It was just perfect to me.

Today's flood of information to my senses took me right to a moment as I went around a corner in my car, faced out to sea a little, and sung along. I don't remember which track in particular was playing at that time. I think it might be 'Atlantic', the instrumental which has an obvious link to the sea, and I can certainly recall hearing the opening piano arpeggios as I drove. But I also know that I listened to 'Leaving So Soon' an awful lot; probably my favourite from the album. But then, if I consider any of the other tracks, the chances are that it could well have been any one of them.

There were both good and bad reasons for my late-night driving at that time which, in turn, give the album some positive and negative associations. I haven't listened to it for about six months, but getting that feeling today makes me want to revisit it. Actually, it makes me want to get in my car at stupid'o'clock and listen to it whilst driving along the seafront.

"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninov

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