Reindeer Section was an idea of quiet genius. Throw together members of the best Scottish indy outfits - which at the time meant the best indy outfits in the world, and I will pull your hair in the most fey manner possible if you disagree - and see what they can come up with under the direction of Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody.
Somehow, though, it didn't quite work the first time. Y'all Get Scared Now, Y'Hear! felt more like a throat-clearing exercise than a coherent album. Fortunately, their second effort Son of Evil Reindeer proved an absolute triumph. Give too many cooks one broth and they'll spoil it. Ask them to put on a banquet and you'll be stuffing your face indefinitely.
"Your Sweet Voice" is not the sweetest morsel on this platter, but it's certainly the saddest, a short story about what happens once a relationship is over, but your former has left neither your heart nor your life. It's a standard slice of Lightbody's trademark bake of vague allusion to profound yearning, but there's a reason that got him as far as it did. Plus, as with his best songs, the meanings here change dramatically depending on where you think the speech marks should go. My advice: choose the conversation that sounds most devastatingly sad.
I remember with crystal clarity where I was when I heard this song; I was alone in my parent's house and had the album on whilst waiting to head off to a friend's house. What I can't recall, at all, was who it was I thought of when one of my all-time favourite self-absorbed-white-boy-unlucky-in-love lyrics dropped:
I can't call you a friendSolipsistic? Sure. But it's indy music. That's defining yourself by what you don't have from day one. In any event, that's just fucking crushing. And it was crushing in a way that resonated with me. I felt my heart fall from its previous rhythm like a drunk punk drummer.
Cause when you left me here
You left me here to die
Don't worry I wont call you again
Cause when I take a hint
I take it pretty hard
And when you broke my heart
You broke it into shards of glass
I don't remember why anymore. I know there was someone. I know there was someone and this reminded me of her and it was beautiful and awful. That memory, and that feeling, has survived over a decade past any connection to my love interest at the time.
And what is this kind of music for, if not to keep you pleasantly miserable long past your ability to remember why?
B-side: another track from Son Of Evil Reindeer that didn't quite make the cut for this series, but is still wonderful.
"Realistically I'm already halfway gone."