Monday, May 03, 2004

Assistant Rehearsal - 2nd May

A really productive rehearsal yesterday, as - once more - the completion of the demo was put on hold as we gear ourselves up for next month's gig. We're doing a 35 minute set, which is about seven songs or so, and we're keen to include at least a couple of new tracks, but as we've got about eight new ones on the boil we need to settle down and try to finish two or three; which means finalising vocals and arrangements, for the most part.

Of the new songs, the likeliest contenders are I'm Shit and What It Means. Having struggled with a vocal line last time we attempted the former song, I decided to scrap everything I had bar the two bits which worked the best, meaning that the songs sounds simpler and catchier. With a vocal line and Anne So's keyboards it sounds a bit less Teenage Fanclub style indie-pop, which is good, although it still has a kind of bounciness which made me think, fleetingly, of Franz Ferdinand. The title is a bit silly, but I wanted to counterbalance the chirpy mood of the song with some slightly darker lyrics;

I'm so sick,
of getting fixed
with all this well meant
medicine - advice -
I'm feeling sick
I need to lie down

Keen to add some unusual middle eights and tricks to the songs to make them sound a bit more original, we worked out a nice instrumental break towards the end of the song which necessitates me grabbing hold of my melodica to play a little melody; quite hard to time it right, so we'll have to practice that. But the song is almost complete - we just need to play it through with Andy, who was absent yesterday - and it'll be ready for the gig.

What It Means was over-complicated yesterday by confusion over the arrangement. Originally I intended the main chords of the song to be played on the piano, which is how we first rehearsed it. However, we then switched to Pete playing them on the guitar. Unable to work out, yesterday, which was better, we ended up with neither; Pete finding some more interesting, clipped guitar sounds and Anne-So inventing a really nice little piano melody, vaguely oriental, which sits under the bass and sounds excellent. Additionally, I dropped my guitar line out of the verses meaning that my vocals carried the song's main melody (rather like in Easy to Leave). As a result a song which, when I demoed it, sounded full of noise and a bit relentless, now has a complex, interesting arrangement with lots of holes, lots of space. After the second chorus almost everything drops out and I have to sing, stretching my voice, and rather terrifyingly...

Do you have any sympathy for me?
Well, I don't suppose so. No, no,
I don't suppose so, no no.

before the rest of the band join back in again. It sounds good, but this makes me feel nervous. Especially when I have to yelp 'ooooh my' in a moment of silence seconds earlier, sounding like Frankie Howard being strangled. Hmmm.

Adding those two leaves us with a prospective set list something like:
1. You Should Know
2. Easy To Leave
3. I'm Shit
5. What it Means
6. Vine to Vine
7. Engines and Anvils

So just one more song to do. We've got a fast instrumental which sounds a bit like British Sea Power, the very complicated Don't Ask Me or Too Many Problems to drop in. Probably the latter. We worked on it briefly yesterday. Like I'm Shit and Easy to Leave it's empty and sparse, although we added a big orchestral flourish to the chorus via Anne-So's laptop. It's crying out for a good vocal line - which means my job for the week is to write one.

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