All for the best

I lay awake last night thinking about REM and Miracle Legion.

REM were the start of it all for me really. The first band that was mine. A closed little world I could inhabit for myself before sharing it with others. I can still remember getting it for the first time. Lying in bed listening to Reckoning on the headphones, and then having to listen to it over and over again, compelled to go back so that every last curve of the music was mine. I saw them in concert at the Royal Court in Liverpool and then over the years I saw them another ten or so times.

There was a new sort of music coming out of the US. Born on the back of punk but casting its mind back over other times and forms. For a few years I thought that music had done it all and could be tied up in the confines of REM, Husker Du and The Replacements. Sometimes I still think that was right particularly if you add the The Go-Betweens into the mix…but that is for another evening…

Round the back of what REM were doing there any number of bands jangling at their guitars. Miracle Legion were always better than the rest and with their album Surprise, Surprise they created a quiet masterpiece.

Their singer, Mark Mulcahy, is playing in Manchester next week. As I was lying in bed last night it occurred to me that he had followed the sort of career path that Michael Stipe could have followed if he had perhaps not taken himself quite so seriously.

This is a live recording for radio…on the album it finishes with him singing say you love me, say you love me and somehow you know that there is not quite enough love for that.

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