Not on Top is a perfect record, the kind of record you don't expect, find ok after a first listen and that constantly keeps on playing on your cd player, days after days, weeks after weeks. It's a very strong release by the melancholy French brothers. And it's raining again. I drink one of my girlfriend's diet coke cans because there's nothing else to drink in the fridge and i lit a cigarette.
Not on Top sounds like a breakup record that sounds like a makeover record, jaded and breathless, exhilarated and bored. It makes me think of The Velvet Underground's self-titled release (the black one, not the banana one).
Not on Top's title track is about feeling old, with lines like "twenty seven and i'm fucked, well it's ten years from teen age and that's a frickin lot" and "i thought i'd never say that i bought Nevermind and it changed my life some 15 years ago", sung with a tongue in the cheek and lead in the stomach. The Herman Dune brothers are smart and humble, unleashing lines like "I wrote the script of Unbreakable on a rainy morning" with amazing ease.
Not on Top is filled with the best songs i've heard this year. "Walk Don't Run"'s first line is "walk don't run don't let them know that you're all alone cause they'll chase you and throw you stones, just for fun from behind, bastards". "This Will Never Happen" is a fast one, the happiest song on the record, about recovering a love that was almost lost. "Good for No One" is about screwing up a relationship because you fear you will screw it up.
Not on Top was recorded with Julie Doiron, she breathes through all the record's songs and her soft voice is a great counterpart to the brothers' tight, shaky voices.
Not on Top is such a great record i cannot put it into words even though that's supposed to be my job. But, conviniently enough, this record is about being just a man, or in this case, just a girl, who is bound to fail at some point.
/july 1st 2005/