Mention the above phrase, and those wise old sages amongst you will see it as a Pixies reference.
Some may see it as a Nirvana reference, but since Kurt Cobain often cited Pixies as an influence, it’s not unreasonable to assume that when his records did the whole loudQUIETloud thing, as they often did, there was a hat being tipped in their direction.
And no, the emphasis isn’t all wrong in me/us/them referring to loudQUIETloud; the very point of it is that sandwiched between loud sections, the quiet(er) moments stand out for their oasis-like (no, not them) idyllic calm and beauty.
But in 1991 one band took it a step further: quietVERYLOUDINDEEDnomorequietbits.
Step forward The Wedding Present and the first single from the Steve Albini produced Seamonsters album.
It’s hard to communicate quite the impact this made on hearing it for the first time. The lyrical bent is as one had come to expect from Wedding Present stalwart David Gedge, although rather than the protagonist being unloved or dumped as had generally been the case previously, now the subject of the song is one half of an illicit affair.
And musically: well, it starts as a slightly low-key, stripped down sound, in much the same way as Blur would succesfully adapt on their 1997 Blur album. There are no trademark break-neck jangly guitars a la ‘Shatner’ on display here.
And then it just fucking explodes into a sheer wall of noise: an angry, seething, frustrated, unfettered, raging wall of sound, the exact opposite of that which Phil Spector tried to do in the 60s, but no less exquisite for it.
If you’re listening to this on your headphones, I recommend you either turn the volume up or down, depending on your proclivities, around the 2:18 mark, because it’s at 2:20 that the fireworks start:
Genuis. No other word for it.