MARTIN CREED Thoughts Lined Up Telephone Records
John Peel famously once said of The Fall: “they are always different; they are always the same”, and a very similar description could easily be applied to Martin Creed – who you may know as the bloke who won the Turner Prize for switching the lights on and off – and his outlandish brand of off-kilter indie-pop. Someone who lurks in the peripheral shadows of the underground, his music is befitting of his status as a perennial outsider: it stands very much alone, a collection of his own thoughts and ideas, barely serviceable for an audience.
And while being different, it is always the same. A thin riff, an initially funny lyric repeated over and over, backing vocals, layering, end. His songs are scratchily recorded demos of raucous sessions that are at once childlike and world-weary; upbeat nursery rhymes that unfold into dark metaphor and claustrophobic tension without any particular change.
(You Put Your) Hand in My Hand is a perfect example of Martin Creed’s bizarre circus: its lyrics are puzzled throughout the track as they manically repeat, calling into question the health of the relationship he is describing. Similarly wild-eyed is Let’s Come to an Arrangement – a stifling, electrifying mess of jumbled melodies and vocals, offering very honest insight in a highly confrontational manner.
And, like The Fall, Martin Creed is not for everyone, as much as the merits of his work should allow him to be. A record that is more of an intellectual curio than one for repeated listens, Thoughts Lined Up is basically what the title suggests: a twenty-four track collection of Martin Creed’s strange thoughts which will test the limits of your preference for the unusual.