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Smog : Cold blooded old times

Like a hound that can see ghosts, [B]Bill Callahan[/B] takes in different things to most of us, and his songs (until recently, strange, quiet affairs) project them back in startling vignette.

Smog : Cold blooded old times

From semi-obscurity, then, to Radio 1 and TFI Friday in the strum of a jaunty guitar and the blinking of a cold blue eye. Like a hound that can see ghosts, Bill Callahan takes in different things to most of us, and his songs (until recently, strange, quiet affairs) project them back in startling vignette.




'Cold Blooded Old Times' takes a childhood crisis - a father leaving? A mother taking on a new man? You can only hazard cack-handed guesses, such is Callahan's subtlety - and rocks gently with it, guitars chugging along in the surefire style of 'Road Runner', The Velvet Underground's 'Some Kinda Love' and 'Brimful Of Asha'. There's even a honkytonk piano here, brightening the corners.




You suspect it's the nice chugging sound that the playlist compilers are hearing, not the poetry of Callahan's oblique tragedy: much like REM's classic 'The One I Love' (essentially a massive diss to an ex) was taken for a smoochy couple's tune by radio the world over. Still. Subversive or no, this remains one of the finest four minutes of music that will be publicly broadcast all year. And should its chill gaze capture you, please note that there are more poisoned delights to be found on the Smog album called 'Knock Knock', released by Domino at the start of this year.

Kitty Empire

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