April 2nd, 2009 8:10am
A Room Full Of Perfect Looks
I want to believe that this song exists because at least one member of the Super Furry Animals became obsessed with the word “trams,” and went out of his way to make sure that he could have the opportunity to say “trams” over and over in a song. Obviously, the sorta Krautrock vibe and campy German language interlude from Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy just came out of the tram concept — when we think of trains in music, it’s got to be a tribute to Deutschland, right? Of course! Still, I can imagine him being very cautious, and making sure that the song did not get too serious. It had to be bouncy and somewhat silly. It had to be something that perfectly captured the simple joy of saying the word “trams.” If this is the case, then they totally nailed it.
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At first, the horns in “The Small Things” seem like coloring, a nice touch in the arrangement of a perky, low key indie pop song more focused on its clean rhythm guitar, sweet vocals, and warm vintage organ melody. As it moves along, it becomes clear that the horns are the heart and soul of the piece, bleating passionately as the rest of the song is more measured and mannered. The horns seem like the most articulate aspect of the song, cutting through the clutter of thought and getting straight to the emotional truth. The brief full-on sax solo at the end is surprising, but also totally logical in context — after a few minutes dominated by the superego, it makes sense that the finale would be all id.
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