Back in February of last year I wrote an article about the wonders of Strangelove and I also interviewed singer and lyricist Patrick Duff about the band, his solo career and Disney soundtracks…that conversation remains one of my most treasured moments because, as I explained to Patrick at the time, during all the madness, in the midst of the seemingly perpetual sunsheeeiiinnneee, in the throes of the madness of Cool Britannia I still had moments where I felt like a freak, a weirdo, an outsider and where depression and anxiety gripped me.
It was at those moments that I was glad of the presence of a band like Strangelove…a band from the edges, a band from the shadows, a band experimenting, pushing and screaming.
My introduction to the band arrived with the title track from the album “Time for the Rest of Your Life”…
Inside it feels like I’m falling…
That one line was enough.
It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t understand that feeling exactly how important it was to hear someone, anyone, else expressing it.
I bought that single the week that it came out from a little record shop in an even littler town outside of Paisley and I fell for Strangelove completely…instantly.
There had been a couple of singles before that but only one other song was released from the album…
Is There a Place.
A jaunty, breezy, knees up, cor blimey guvn’r of a song perfectly in keeping with the times.
Fine, what it really was was over ten minutes of your darkest fears and worries being given sonic form by a gang of people you hadn’t ever met but who seemed, somehow, to know you intimately.
The rest of the album is more of the usual unusual.
Songs from the corner of the room…songs from the corner of your mind.
Where other bands at the time were, largely, drawing on the same influences Strangelove sounded…different. They were, really, an experimental band. They were experimenting with the music, with the themes, with the words, with fame and with drugs and alcohol.
Even the songs on the album that sounded, in places at least, like they could be hit records would often veer off into unusual places, twist themselves up into musical knots then spend the rest of the song trying to untie them…a wonderful case in point is “Return of the Real Me” a song so fabulously eccentric that in a better world would have been a number one single. Not for Strangelove…for them it was just another song.
Time For the Rest of Your Life is a difficult record to talk about…at least for me…because it is, despite the musical and lyrical flourishes, a dark and, at times, unsettling record. But that is exactly why it deserves to be loved and remembered. In Patrick Duff they had a handsome, yes, and enigmatic frontman but they also possessed one of the finest lyricists of his time…the other Strangelove albums hint at that and his solo work confirms it.
So, 25 years on…happy birthday to one of my most treasured albums from one of my most beloved bands and writers.