Fiona Shepherd swaps football chat with Livingston’s first contribution to the pop charts, Dave Cicero, and hears why he won’t be making a living penning political anthems.
Dave Cicero is no stranger to tragedy. He has been inexorably touched by events beyond his control; the kind ofevents that involve 22 men chasing a leather sphere about an expansive grassy area. In the same week that Cicero’s third single ‘That Loving Feeling’ hits the racks, his beloved Hearts are robbed of a place in the Scottish Cup Final by the dastardly Airdrieonians. He recounts the sorry debacle as though it were on a par with the outbreak ofthe GulfWar.
‘It’s just a shame. I was crying; it was really sad. I was watching it in the pub on Sky TV and I walked out, just couldn‘t take it. It‘s the second time it’s happened to us; we’ve got to the ﬁnal or semi-final and got beat. . .it‘sjust life,‘ he shrugs.
Being, against my better judgement, a Queen’s Park supporter, I find myself in total sympathy with the unwitting victims of footballing underachievement, the disillusioned fans. Hearts themselves can go take a protracted swim in the Forth for all I care, but Cicero I identify with. And not just because of a common regard for the beloved game. He’s natural and down-to-earth. endearing in his plain-spoken enthusiasm. I find myself smiling at the way his conversation revolves round and returns to phrases like, ‘it was brilliant . . . Ijustcouldn’tbelieve it. . .which is really really great . . . I‘ve always wanted to . . .‘ and the way he refers to himselfas a ‘one-man band’ rather than a solo performer, and tickled by his complete lack of guile when he confesses things like ‘I was crapping myself with “Love Is Everywhere”, because I thought this may be too biased for the English because of the Scottish accents and bagpipes and that.’ One thing you can’t accuse Cicero of is spouting truisms.
The success of ‘Love Is Everywhere’ may have _ surprised its creator, but its skin-deep, saccharine ’ quality clearly struck a chord with the nation’s singles-buyers who increasingly lap up oven-ready, easily palatable fare. Apart from the obvious coup of actually selling quantities of the thing, becoming a chart act has made one crucial difference to Cicero’s career.
‘I’m going out of that Pet Shop Boys shadow now. I’m not getting introduced as their protege or whatever on TV and radio which is good, and half my fan mail doesn’t even mention the Pet Shop Boys anymore.’
Well, I wasn’t going to bring up the exhaustively-broached subject of Tennant and Lowe, but since you mentioned it first, is it their production credits that determine his musical
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proximity? Cicero’s reply is disarmingly candid. ‘Basically. my music sounds like the Pet Shop Boys,’ he admits. ‘That‘s basically why they decided to sign me up. lfyou heard my demo of “Love Is Everywhere" before they ever got hold ofit, it sounded just like it is now. But you‘ve heard the album — does the album sound like the Pet Shop Boys to you?‘
You have to concur. Anyone expecting a record chocka with surrogate PSB ditties is in for a liberating double-take. Future Boy bends the knee in equal measure to New Order, Kraftwerk. Jean-Michel Jarre and Crass. Ha, ha, only joking about New Order. It’s the perfect prescription for those post-election blues— 45 minutes of total immersion in electro oblivion. It will give you a transient carefree boost. and a lot less cranial
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damage than alcohol. It gets away with what would otherwise be overbearing optimism, by tempering the positivity with harsher subjects. ‘Future Generations‘ deals with homeless young Scots in London and their non-escape route into prostitution. and no prizes for deciphering ‘Butcher OfBucharest‘.
‘But I don't want to write political albums.’ maintains Cicero, citing the rise and tenacity of Depeche Mode and Erasure as career blueprints. ‘I don’t want to be known as that style ofartist. I just want to write whatever I feel at the time.’ Which presumably means the Hearts valediction lament is in the bag.
Future Boy is released on Spaghetti/Polydor on I 1 May. The single ‘That Loving Feeling‘ is out now.
The List 34 April -«