If there’s an album that brings back memories of 1984, my time in Christchurch in a new flat, with new friends, an ever-growing social scene and a Weller-inspired (who else) foray into jazz, it’s the sublime Eden by Everything But The Girl. Three jazz-juiced albums were released around this time which tickled my French fancy: The Style Council had introduced Café Bleu to a mixed reaction amongst Jam fans, and with Working Week’s Working Nights and La Varieté by Weekend, a smoky waft of French accordion café culture was the new thing.
We took this new thing seriously, seeking out a weekly modern jazz club in some remote country pub. We dressed up sharp, we applauded after each solo, and we were very European. I have never smoked cigs, but I was probably tempted just to complete the look. This was summer time, we were hip young cats who took boat trips in blazers along Christchurch quay, and we listened to Eden.
From the opening soothing brass, gentle rhythm and Tracy Thorn’s exquisite vocals…
“If you ever feel the time to drop me a loving line,
maybe you should just think twice,
I don’t wait around on your advice.”
…the tone is set. Each and Every One is a perfect opener; a beautiful, understated jazz groove with Tracy Thorn’s seemingly effortless, perfect tone. Everything on the album feels restrained and authentic, musically and lyrically, exploring the labyrinth of love’s complexities. Ben Watt and Tracy Thorn looked shy and unassuming, which to me made a pleasant change from most popsters from ’84, swaying gently, almost awkwardly with no hint of attitude.
At not long past 30 minutes Eden’s 12 tracks are packed sweetly tight. Another Bridge, Frost and Fire and the gorgeous Bittersweet evoke immensely nostalgic memories of exciting times. I was growing up fast amongst special friends. Gary, Simon, Lisa, Simon… thank you, those were the best of days.