society of imaginary friends

Society of Imaginary Friends
Sadness is a bridge to love

Regular conscripts to our sister broadcast Singled Out (missive 173 – to be precise) will no doubt be fully aware of our passing love for Society of Imaginary Friend’s current single ‘the moors’ and its highly recommended flip cut ‘windows’ which as I recall was something approaching an emotion shredding tour de force that sweetly fused elements of Goldfrapp’s ‘felt mountain’ and Kate Bush’s ’sat in your lap’ with trace ingredients of Transglobal Underground and Bernard Herrmann.

Aside our swooning lyrical waxing as were, we happily or unhappily as happened to be the case bemoaned the fact that their self released debut full length ’sadness is a bridge to love’ (soon to be re-released on licence to Cadiz) had to our dumb struck astonishment seen its way to bypassing the loving embrace of our hi-fi. No sooner did our grumblings seep out into the ether, their quick to react PR were on the case zipping at the speed of lightning* towards us a copy of said disc with which to cause delirious delight (nb * pardon the over exaggeration it did after all arrive via royal mail where the expression ’speed’ and ’lightening’ are mere fanciful illusions). If only someone would likewise take heed to my pitiful pleas for half a million quid, a Jaguar convertible and a 17th C thatched roof cottage in the middle of nowhere – preferably one in spitting distance of a grand and understanding record emporium possessing rare rarely seen wax artefacts. Ho hum.

Anyhow back to Society of Imaginary Friends – great name for a band don’t you think. ’Sadness is a bridge to love’ is a beautifully crafted ten suite collection, an album of such exquisite tenderness and timeless tapestry not to mention literally smouldering with sophisticated elegance and pierced by stolen moments of enchanted romanticism that you may well wonder why it hasn’t surrendered to saturation plays on commercials or been used as incidental backdrops to some TV nature / historical / literary programme or more importantly and I dare say more puzzlingly why a copy of it isn’t secreted about each and every home the length and breadth of this fair nation.

It is one of those rare unqualified moments wherein 52 minutes of your life breathlessly slips by with dreamlike entrancement – in our humbled estimation perhaps only equalled this year by Musetta’s ‘mice to meet you’ (especially on the aforementioned and current single ‘the moors’ with its dream-scaping washes of early career Sakamoto and lashings of breathtaking noire collages) in terms of seduction and artistry, to say ‘sadness is a bridge to love’ is beguiling is to underplay its unerring ability to freewheel between tenderness, tempestuousness and turbulence (exemplified perfectly by the parting ‘liberation‘) – its a force of grand symphonic nature that orbits around the truly jaw dropped magnificence of the humbling ‘night of power’ and the sensitively fragile ‘the lovely rain‘. the former vivid, lush and deeply intoxicating – this towering gem like treasure is as unreal a five minute pop salvo as you’ll hear all year, an arresting feast of operatic eloquence bedevilled by an apocryphal funereal finality that’s both bracing and bespoke with a supernatural allure and caressed with ascensions of euphoric like bliss whilst simultaneously finding itself shimmering longingly into similar untouched spectral landscapes as Goldfrapp’s ‘Utopia’(the ‘felt mountain‘ references keenly spring to mind on the equally engaging ‘the tide of life‘). ‘the lovely rain’ in sharp contrast is a demurring beauty dappled with a sweetly lilting piano braid and softly romanced by the delicate touch of lightly dusted strings – an aching thing of such peerless gracefulness.

It perhaps pin points perfectly the measured intention at the root of Society of Imaginary Friends in that they don’t take the easy option, that they aren’t pre-disposed to fashion trends and the mere turning out of cheaply thrilled slithers of pop to order or suit that come the next ’this week’s new favourite band’ contender will be filed away and sadly forgotten. Instead ’sadness is a bridge to love’ is here for the long game – its aura and timeless majesty will continue long after those ’contenders’ have ceased to be. Why so you might ask – well simply because SoIF don’t play the pop card as you’d expect, of course that’s not to say its not pop its just pop done through a cleverly crafted and informed classical mindset, a mindset that isn’t afraid to blend show tunes, soul (as on the forlorn ’going home’) and torch ballads (the strangely sublime ‘easy way’ with its zig-zagging jazz montages) with a sense of haunting surrealism (as on the sweetly distressed down tempo eeriness of the bowed lullaby-esque ‘nursery of dark and light’) much like Shortwave Set for example.

If we‘d have been a little more applied with this internet lark we‘d have long since bastardised the Shamen‘s ‘omega amigo‘ from ‘my time is yours‘ to ‘my space is yours‘ and had it up on our page much – we suspect – to the envy of all but then not being a hapless geek (just hapless will do) we didn‘t – however we have copyrighted said idea so anyone fancying nicking it will be forever plagued by biblical plagues and subscription notices to Britannia (always good to get the plugs in). why do I say all this you may well wonder while you rub your thinking ’blimey there’s eight more pages to go’ well because ‘for those online’ is a delightful anti-ode to all these self publicising sites such as my space / face book and so on and so forth all impishly decorated in the kind of string laced celestial backdrops that used to usher in the entrance of the fairy god mother or some similar heavenly dropped character from classic Disney film lore, just love that connotation as though on visiting a my space page that you’ve somehow happened upon the holy grail only to find within a 3 second earshot of the opening track that you’ve been sold a wrong ’un.

‘Sadness is a bridge to love’ is perfect, none will escape unscathed by its imperious beauty.

As to those earlier requests apply within for address better still tell us where you are and we’ll away right now giving it legs aplenty.

Key tracks –

The lovely rain
Night of power
For those online

first aired – october 2008

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