In many of the pieces for this miniseries I’ve tried to show the steadiness of bass as the lead instrument, an almost oxymoronic idea; I’m implying that the bass is holding everything down and keeping the rhythm in order, while also saying that it’s what is the driver of the songs tonal message and flair. It’s easy to understand this concept, I suppose, if one considers the bass guitar as the electric guitar where it’s not out of the question for a rhythm guitar track to block out the structure while another player (or sometimes the same player at the same time) plays lead flourishes. Purely evolutionarily the bass guitar just didn’t evolve this way within the pop/rock medium, so sometimes it’s necessary to point out when exemplary examples exist. Not to overly restate the thesis of this quick series, but I feel it just a tad necessary to point out how unique some of these tracks are.
Take today’s example; the bass rumbles underneath, while also added driving menace to atmospherically color the sound. While there is a standard guitar part and break, that is higher in the mix, the song’s bass most closely replicates the atmosphere in the dark lyric. The guitar and organ part lifts something toward a degree of outright happiness or optimism, but the bass, when played with this bit of reverb, is able to tinge the entire song properly. The Inspiral Carpets are one of the great lost, forgotten British indie guitar bands, but as shown amply here, bassist Martyn Walsh shows just one reason why many feel they were special. Here’s another;
What chance for children against such tides?
Your mother did warn you from inside
Now you’re back on dry land,
curse the place where I stand