366 Songs 032: How We Wrote Elastica Man

Continuing the Mark E. Smith-ness from yesterday, “How We Wrote Elastica Man” – from Elastica’s patchy second album, The Menace – is another messy, yet catchy, song that Smith sounds as if he’s wandered into by mistake, mumbling and moaning in the middle of the band chanting down how to spell their name like some kind of bizarro cheerleading squad (I’ve always loved that the chant doesn’t follow the spelling convention you’d expect: “E! The possibilities are…/L!” and so on). But that seems fitting, considering the sound of this song, distorted but recognizably classic in its arrangement (two guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals) and structure. Like so much of Elastica’s output, there’s something knowingly nostalgic and traditional here, performed with a smirk and off-kilter velocity. For all of the MES vocal fuzz, this song could’ve come from any point from the 1960s forward, which may be why Elastica worked so well during their short lived existence: The music appealed to so many people because it could’ve come from each of their own favorite eras.

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