Every summer, there’s that song — the song that defines those sunny days and balmy nights, the one you’ll forever associate with a specific time and place. This week, Talkhouse writers talk their song of the summer of 2015.
— the editors of the Talkhouse
Although I have been aware of Wolf Alice for a while – and been lucky enough to see their kinetic, feral live show – it was mostly due to pre-album singles “Moaning Lisa Smile,” “You’re a Germ” and “Giant Peach.” I only recently discovered “Bros” when flicking through radio stations in my kitchen.
Being in my own home and cooking my own weird, made-up creations is a luxury I haven’t had in a while due to the amount of time CHVRCHES spends on the road, especially for the past few summers when we normally travel to play festivals every weekend from May ’til September, with side shows in between. (For anyone who hasn’t done the “three festivals, three countries, one weekend” move, it’s a killer. I promise).
Recently, though, we have been at home in Scotland to write and record our new record, fringe benefits of which include many an opportunity for a night in with a glass of wine, a Jamie Oliver recipe and Netflix, and it was during one of these evenings, on a sort-of-sunny summer’s night in Glasgow, that I heard the new version of “Bros,” re-recorded for My Love Is Cool.
Grungy at the root, “Bros” is driven along by rumbling drum patterns and subtle bass, kept sonically afloat by reverb-laden guitar hooks and a major key. Slightly cleaner and tidier than some of Wolf Alice’s more gnarly material, this arrangement leaves space for Ellie Roswell’s sometimes casual, sometimes serene vocal to take center stage.
“Bros” seems to be an ode to friendship, something which can be hard to write about in a way which doesn’t absolutely ramp up the cheese factor but which I feel Roswell has done well here, and which I think is the main reason the song connected with me so immediately, especially given the timing of my discovering it. As well as missing home comforts when we leave for tour (my kingdom to not have to wear flip-flops in the shower, just in case of weird diseases contracted in venue bathrooms), we also leave behind friends, family, partners and our “previous lives,” I guess. The summers of years gone by, spent in beer gardens or parks with friends you’ve known forever, have all but disappeared, so the sweet nostalgia of being able to experience that again this summer, for the first time in years, must have been playing on my mind.
Touring with this band has given us some of the most incredible experiences in our lives, and we are terribly privileged to be able to play our music for so many people around the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’ve met some amazing people and done things we never thought we would ever be able to, and for that we are incredibly grateful, but it does come at a certain expected cost to other areas of your life.
Trying to maintain personal relationships on tour can be very difficult, but it also makes you more grateful for the ones that do remain intact, and the support you get from those people means even more. I have also, in recent years, become even more grateful for good, true friendships, as it seems the more people you technically know, the fewer people you are willing to count as your friends in an environment where you can never be sure who is genuine and who is probably trying to get something out of you. Those dynamics are fake, inauthentic and, in my world, a waste of time, but they do make me more thankful for the great friends I do have in my life. The ones who remember the times when we all worked jobs we hated in order to pay our rent. The ones who came to see me play to twelve people on a Tuesday night and bought me a consolatory pint afterwards. The ones who have seen me mess up but helped me get my shit back together. The ones who look at me just the same now as they did years ago, and expect nothing but kindness in return.
In Roswell’s words:
“Shake your hair, have some fun
Forget our mother and past lovers, forget everyone
Oh, I’m so lucky you are my best friend…
Stick it out together, like we always do.