‘A Box To Hide In’ – Chris T-T
From Capital (Xtra Mile Recordings)
I still remember the first time I heard this. On a District Line train between Earls Court and Olympia, going to the BETT show. A mid January day away from school, up in the capital. A new Chris T-T record on the iPod. It had all sounded great up to this point. Perhaps a little more full-on than expected after the stripped back Nine Red Songs, but still, there’s nothing wrong with letting rip when the focus is right.
And then there was ‘A Box To Hide In’. It took my breath away. Brought a tear to my eye. Made me blink away the emotion. Had me standing outside Oylmpia, surrounded by crowds of teachers milling to and fro clutching handfuls of free pens, pressing my headphones to my ears, replaying the song, desperate to catch each pulse of energy again and again.
It still has the power to move me. It stills cuts me deep. Shivers ran up my spine when he played it in the Exeter Phoenix back in October, and with his fine band in full flight it sounded every bit as magnificent as I’d hoped it would.
I still don’t really understand why Chris is not a household name. Still don’t get why people are not giving him cover spreads in the more intelligent sections of the music press. Capital was far and away one of the best two albums of 2008. Certainly the best ‘rock’ record, for what it’s worth; stuffed full of the kind of intelligent, informed and articulate ‘protest’ songs that any young pretender should give their left (and/or right) arm for.
Perhaps as we lurch towards the realisation that the failure of multi-national, corporate capitalism is as seemingly inevitable as it is welcome, then Chris T-T’s blend of powerfully focused anger and deeply humanist empathy will grow as a rallying point of reference; a jumping off point for considering new ways forward that learn from our histories’ mistakes.
Or maybe everyone will continue as they were, throwing resources into propping up a terminally broken ideology and buying their heroes from X-Factor.
The world is there for the taking.