Furia Under One Roof Review

Furia/The War Against Silence review. A retrospective like review of “Under One Roof”.

Author: Glenn McDonald.

Date: 22 February 2001.

Original URL: http://www.furia.com/twas/twas0317.html


Article Text

Hunters and Collectors shut down recently, too, as if it were time for every continent to sacrifice one great anthem band. Under One Roof is their farewell live album, recorded in 1998 but it took me two years to give up on my usual sources and mail-order it directly from Australia. I’d expect that the overlap between Big Country and H&C fans, both actual and potential, is significant, the overlap between resistors probably even more so. H&C also have an earlier live album, the 1995 double-disc set Living…In Large Rooms and Lounges, on which they perform nearly all of these songs plus some. H&C live albums are basically self-justifying, as they were another band that came twice as alive when they played for people, but this particular album is essential, I think, for exactly two reasons. The first is that on Living… they didn’t try the plaintive “What’s a Few Men?”, which I consider one of the few truly great war songs written by a generation that didn’t live with war. The second is track fourteen of seventeen, introduced by Mark Seymour in the trailing seconds of track thirteen with a glib “I suppose, you know, we couldn’t really leave the building without playing this next song”. In a routine concert that would merely be banter, self-deprecating acknowledgement that they had one hit bigger than the others. Here, though, in their final show, it’s a different admission entirely. The song, as everybody in the room knows, is “Throw Your Arms Around Me”, which for once I’m sure I’m not alone in calling one of rock’s most timeless love songs (the other three of my top four, at the moment, after a recent falling-out with “Ana Ng” and a slight loss of faith in “Missing You”, are Marillion’s “Kayleigh”, Not Drowning, Waving’s “Spark” and Modern English’s “I Melt With You”). If this really is the last H&C show, then, it’s not just a matter of leaving the building or not, it is the band that made one of the four most perfect love songs in music, and a representative delegation of the people who owe part of their conception of love to it, realizing that it is about to be performed in its native state for the last time. Other believers will keep it alive in other forms, of course (Luka Bloom does it on his new covers album, which is sitting in one of my piles), and maybe each band member who was part of it will play it a hundred more times, individually, at friends’ parties, or in their own kitchens for their wives and children. But for the band, this is it. “I will kiss you in four places”, Mark sings, and part of the charm of the song lies in thinking of this as goofily circumspect innuendo, but the four places are really seasons, or compass points, or corners of a square planet, or the past, the present, the future and us, never quite contained in any of them.



The first H&C song Mark Seymour released was “Holy Grail” on the “You Don’t Have To Cry Anymore” single.