I had something else planned for today, namely an interview with Bird and Flower (Eve Searls from Super Desserts) conducted a fortnight ago, but last week I was (sadly) reminded of one reason The Indie Handbook exists. So, there will be no interview today. This is a eulogy.
The city of Birmingham (that’s Birmingham, England for those of you who will not understand the topical references I shall make in the second half of this sentence) is not without its faults, including sins against the Queen’s English (sorry, I mean the Queens English), but in true Semipelagian fashion, I have to believe even ol’ Brum isn’t totally depraved. After all, native sons and resident proponents of guitar pop tinged with Victoriana, Envy & Other Sins, released what I still think was the best and most cohesive album of 2008 – a feat not to be repeated with their sophomore effort slated to come out later this year. Why? Because Envy & Other Sins is no more.
The Indie Handbook will be forever linked with E&OS. My assessment of We Leave at Dawn was the inaugural post on this blog. While the direction of this blog may have altered slightly since that first post, my opinion of the band remains unchanged. I am not even going to attempt to explain the situation (though if any of the guys read this and would like to explain it to me, I would love to know). By all accounts “nice guys” and a “really credible band”, E&OS really only made one mistake as far as I can tell. They were liked by the wrong people – people like me who don’t care that they were on a TV show – people who don’t get all wet at the thought of NME and refuse to swallow Pitchfork without asking questions (“You want me to put that where???”).
Interestingly enough, within a week of E&OS announcing their breakup (you’re going to love this), the very first person to read this blog (an old friend whose reaction to my review was “It’s not very good, is it?” [I liked it too much. She is now a huge E&OS fan.]) announced that she was going to distance herself from me because I (and this blog) had become “pompous and dreadful” (i.e. I was too mean about Death Cab and Fleet Foxes).
But I have other friends who do still like me and this blog. Also (thank God), we still have some of the boys from Envy & Other Sins. If you’ve been with us for a while, you may remember that I made mention of some solo work being done by Ali M Forbes. Well, it’s not a solo effort anymore. Jim Macaulay, drummer of E&OS has joined his former (and once again current) cohort (and a band of others) to form Malpas. Check out their MySpace and Facebook. “Under Her Sails” is still a work of genius. The other songs are not without merit and possess that endearing strangeness that can only come from the sort of minds that would bring their own furniture to a gig. I think I speak for myself when I say: “Ali, Jim – welcome (back) to the fray. Thanks for sticking around”.