I have mixed feelings about iTunes, but I must admit that the store came in handy this weekend. Love and Other Hideous Accidents is an album - although, at just 21 minutes long, it's probably more of an EP - that I've wanted for a while, but unfortunately, the CD seems to be out of print. Fortunately, 'out of print' means very little when you're on the internet, and so I'm now the proud owner of a digital copy of ...Hideous Accidents.
And right chuffed I am too. Do you remember my blog about break-up albums that compare heartbreak to natural disasters? This album (EP, whatever) is not like that. Instead of dealing with the drama, the torturous falling apart and The inevitable End, this record focuses on an even gloomier, more dismal side of love - no less miserable, but somewhat less dramatic. Instead of hurtling towards some big calamity, we're stuck, going nowhere, and not enjoying it.
Let's go into a little more detail. The first proper track is I Won't Survive, and it rotates around these lines:
"When you leave me, I won't survive. I'll fall apart before your eyes."
The rest of the song gives our narrator the opportunity to detail how, exactly, his break-up would go: begging, pleading, and hugging the girl's leg to prevent her from leaving. Okay, so there's still some of that 'break-up equals death' hyperbole - the song is called 'I Won't Survive', after all - but it's so much more pathetic than anything else I've heard, and it's brilliant. There's none of the foreboding that coated Reports of Snow, there's none of the grand philosophising that colours The Boatman's Call...there's just plain old heartbreak, because really, that's miserable enough.
And, hey, that's just one track! I Won't Survive is immediately followed by Hideous Accident (i.e. the song I bought this EP for), and that one's even better. This one takes place some time after the big break-up, by which point the ex-girlfriend has met someone else and gotten engaged. The singer (I've no idea of his name, sorry) smiles and offers his best wishes, but when he says "I hope you're happy...and I hope he doesn't die in a hideous accident", it's kind of hard to believe him. Again, there's no big drama in this song, and no end to the misery in sight; our ineffectual hero just checks the papers every day and hopes, with his fingers crossed, that his nemesis has been involved in...well, a hideous accident.
Ooh, and then there's If You Don't Pull... (Allo Darlin' have covered this one), which is kind of like How Soon is Now? by The Smiths in that it's all about going to a club, failing to meet anyone, and having to go home and go to bed on your own. After all, songs about breaking up are no good if you can't even break down in the first place. And we're covering the whole 'miserable about love' spectrum, here.
Factor in the musical backdrop, which sounds like the synthier side of The Magnetic Fields except even sadder because of the Scottishness, and you've got yourself an extremely tasty little album/EP/thing. I'd recommend that you buy it as soon as you can - it is unfortunate that you have to sign up for an Apple account to do so, but hey, it's just about worth it.