Monday 24 December 2012

To Here Knows When

One of my formative musical experiences was hearing My Bloody Valentine's "To Here Knows When" on what that wag Mark Radcliffe so dismissively/affectionately calls 'tin pot local radio'.  When it nudged its way into the Top 40 all those dismal local commercial stations which would never dream of playing it had to.  Almost uniformly, the patterned jumpered patter merchants presenting the chart rundowns registered their disgust at having to do so, dismissing it as indie nonsense.  It was a real them and us moment and it was brilliant.  It was so great that something so beautiful and so abstract had infiltrated the polished, ugly world of chart radio.  It was even better that it wound people up.  My Bloody Valentine's version still sounds like the future and still sounds like it would be too radical for your average dud,  local radio station DJ.  I doubt if Rachel Zeffira's thoughtful reworking will fare any better in that world.  When I first heard that someone - to my discredit, I'd forgotten that Rachel was one of the prime movers in Cat's Eyes - had covered it with orchestral instruments, I feared that it may sound a bit John Lewis Christmas advert and the piano intro did have me a bit worried on that score.  However, it's not whimsical, kooky or cynically heart-tugging.  It's intelligent, extremely pretty and retains much of the mystery and romance of the original.  It's on her lp and was the b-side of a recent 7".  I'm going to play the 45 one more time and then dig out that dazzling Pluramon lp which features Julee Cruise.  That'll keep things elusive.

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