Everybody got some favourite albums. Music that accompanied yourself through difficult times, records that acted like a friend when there was real one around. Whether it was the sound around the times of your first kiss or the starting point of your own attempts to take a deeper look into new musical territories. We all have this record somewhere in our hearts and private collections. In this category NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION lets the artist’s do the writing as they share their personal stories and feelings on their most loved record with us.
This time Sam Genders, the former lead singer of TUNNG and person behind DIAGRAMS, confesses his love for Paul, John, George and Ringo and THE BEATLES’ 1966 masterpiece ‘Revolver.’ And since his long awaited second album ‘Chromatics’ is about to get released next week it might be wise to search for a few references on it as well. Here’s what Mr. Genders has to say about his favourite record.
THE BEATLES – ‘Revolver’ (1966)
There’s a time in life around the age of 4 or 5 when you’re old enough to have some sense of the real world unfolding around you as huge grown ups feed and comfort you, keeping you safe as they rush about on inexplicable errands that you none the less know are somehow important to them.
It’s an age when the line between imagination and reality has yet to be drawn into sharp focus and your mind plays out vast magical dramas that to you are just the normal imaginings of every day.
When I look back now I find that time to be far off and indistinct. The years having pulled and twisted the memories so that I’m not quite sure what’s real and what’s make-believe.
One thing I’m sure I do remember is the sound of music. The muted tones of PAUL SIMON’s Graceland through floorboards as adults partied down below or the sad/beautiful laments of JACKSON BROWNE’s achingly sweet album Late For the Sky…perhaps put on the turntable by a parent seeking solace in hard times. Unable to communicate their unhappiness to the child playing peek a boo in the mirror propped between floor and wall, but somehow able to say a small something about their feelings via an old turn table, a green eyed amplifier and two brown cloth covered speakers.
I remember these albums well along with BOB MARLEY’s Legend – the collection of hits that was another firm favourite at busy grown up gatherings – but if I have to choose one album to talk about here then it will be Revolver by THE BEATLES.
I’d like to say I was initially attracted to the record by something precociously musical but in fact I’m pretty sure it was Klaus Voormann’s cartoonish artwork and the song Yellow Submarine that clinched the deal.
Along with other BEATLES albums Help and Beatles for Sale it was the record that inspired me to want to play guitar (the album starts with a sharp repeating guitar stab leading into George Harrison’s song Taxman) and it led to my first experiments in sound manipulation – taking advantage of George Martin and the boys’ predilection for hard-panning instruments into the far left or right of the mix – which gave me the ability to knock out an instrument or vocal by playing about with the stereo’s L-R balance control.
McCartney’s For No One (track 8) is a lesson in melody and beautiful simplicity whilst album ender Tomorrow Never Knows (which I imagine – possibly incorrectly – is mainly Lennon at it’s core) sounded wildly experimental to my young ears – yet would quite happily sit on ANIMAL COLLECTIVES‘s 2009 Merriweather Post Pavillion without sounding dated.
For me it set a template for pop music that didn’t feel constrained by that title. It suggested that it might be fun to experiment and it taught me that it’s possible to play with different styles within the same record.
It really has stayed with me all these years and I still play it fairly often. That’s over 30 years of repeat plays so they must have been doing something right.
And also….at the end of the day it’s got Yellow Submarine on it and cartoon artwork. What more do you need?