Simon Love - It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (Fortuna Pop)

Simon Love – It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (Fortuna Pop)

PromoImage (3)Simon Love dances in the night before you. He sways from side to side. He gestures into another plane. He reaches for his half-empty glass, misses by a good three feet and starts a fight with himself.

The lurching, fuzzy bass and captivating nonsense of ‘Wowie Zowie’ stand out in the middle of ‘It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time. ‘It’s unrepresentative of the album’s sound, but its shifting perspectives and humour are a comic exaggeration of the whole. Simon is the misanthropic lover, the rejected, the screwed around and the bit on the side. He’s a romantic.

On Denim‘s ‘I Saw The Glitter On Your Face’, Lawrence wisely decided that as “what I’ve got to say isn’t new, […] I’ll use this old tune”. Simon Love takes a similar approach, setting his seductions to the lushly orchestrated sounds of 1960s pop. To me, this album evokes The Left Banke and The Beatles. The casual, Ringo-esque fills on ‘Motherfuckers’ are lovely, as is the affectionate cover of Paul and Linda McCartney‘s ‘Dear Boy’. It’s only right that his superb backing band are individually thanked before kicking-out time at the end of the album. Strings and brass are not mere decoration on this album, but take starring roles, reminding me of Camera Obscura‘s ‘French Navy’ with a body count.

Indeed, Simon takes the role of BS Johnson’s Christie Malry against saccharine love ballads, clearly enjoying offing the lot of us on ‘The New Adam And Eve’. Using bombs, fire pits and, brilliantly, “a fist made out of jellyfish”, he reverse engineers Genesis just to get some alone time with a partner. Throughout the album such romantic cliches as “I only need you” are taken to their logical conclusions. On perhaps the sweetest-sounding song, Elton John is dismissed as “just a cunt”. He essentially asks the same questions as Gang of Four‘s ‘Love Like Anthrax’ monologue, but without the detachment of that band. There’s plenty of self awareness in the levity of these songs, but the reflexive anger could only come from someone whose sense of romance is bruised but intact.

Andy Gill didn’t think “what goes on between people should be shrouded in mystery”, but Simon’s concept of love is closer to Mick Farren’s definition of dreams: “things understood gradually become confusing”. It’s a head spinning sensation when private acts become public even if, like a streaker, we are ultimately responsible for our shame. Hence ‘My Dick’, a mournful waltz in which Mr Love considers removing his penis to avoid the trouble it causes him. The song builds to a circus freak show in which he is paraded as a eunuch for the crowd’s amusement. Their mirth unexpectedly grows into empathy as the song ends with a sing-along poignantly reminiscent of ‘All You Need Is Love’. Love also tries to turn the direst situation into seduction. Even after a couple of minutes lamenting the problems his libido has caused, he can’t help begging, “you’ve taken my balls, so please take my dick”.

Every song is packed with jokes I’m still laughing at after weeks of listening. Much like the aforementioned Johnson, Love equates storytelling to lying, undermining his own narratives from one song to the next. On ‘The Meaning of Love’, Stewart Lee reads from Wikipedia, cutting the strings holding our disbelief, and it’s thrilling because we’re in on the secret. It’s deadpan and utterly hilarious. It doesn’t feel smug, because Love really seems to be searching for definition. Where less skilled songwriters use cool detachment to mask timidity, Simon’s rationalisations are warm, sentimental and always engaging. Of course, “the complex and abstract nature of love often reduces discourse of love to a thought-terminating cliché”. I started drafting this in a place that claims to be ‘the premier destination for personal expression’, but the thought of these songs was enough to put a huge grin on my face. That’s one way of explaining what I mean when I say I love this album.


Released 7th August on Fortuna Pop!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.