Is it gorgeous? Glad you asked! Yes, it's another beautifully designed gatefold digipack CD sleeve designed by the dangerously talented Ed Woltil. Hold it, gaze at it, then write him a fawning fan letter.
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Despite the somewhat judgmental and political tone of the lyrics as they stand today, Elastic Man began its life with me singing from the point of view of someone who would do and say whatever (and even be whomever) it takes to keep his significant other happy - bending over backwards, as they say.
It was initially sung in the first person - "I'll try to be what you want, do the best that I'm able; be the head of the restaurant or a crumb at your table", but as the lyrics began to take on a more silly, cartoonish vibe and the flip-flopping Elastic Man theme began to assert itself, I began singing in the third person because, well, who doesn't like pointing fingers and shaking their heads in bemusement at the follies of phony politicos? On top of that, singing from the point of view of a soulless, spineless, vacuous and opportunistic liar would come across all creepy, like.
Although the majority of my songs are written on the acoustic guitar, sometimes I like to write something on the piano. Since I am to piano playing what Mike Tyson is to hand puppetry, this leads to lots of uncertainty and errant chords. This is good, in that it throws you out of your comfort zone and although much of what you play might be overly simplistic and trite, occasionally one of those happy accidents comes along to thrill you.
It happened almost right off the bat with this song. I was trying to play a simple chord but missed it; my hands landing rather clumsily on the wrong keys. I didn't really know what the resulting chord was, but I knew that I liked it. It married with the melody in a far more interesting fashion than the chord I'd actually tried to hit, and it proved to be the kick in the pants I needed to continue on experimenting with the song.
No such clumsiness from the rest of this song's contributors, though. Snazzy drum tracks courtesy of our good friend Chuck Darling; acrobatic (elastic, even!) bass part from Andy Irvine; sublime electric and slide guitar playing supplied by Sir Dave Gregory; and the usual inspiring aural fingerpainting from our Ed all conspire to make me feel like the luckiest sod around. At the risk of sounding kinky, I'd bend over backwards for the lot of them.
Bendy fool has spoken!
He'll try to be what you want
In a million places
One push and he'll spring right back
While pulling new faces
Elastic man with elastic plans and lesson learned
Soul returned, unopened
Stretchy mouth for the stretchy truth
Spine removed, unbroken
He'll try to be who you want
Do the best that he's able
Be the head of the restaurant
Or a crumb at your table
Elastic man with elastic fans who'll come and go
Ebb and flow, forsaken
Bouncy groove made for bouncy mood
Vision skewed and shaken
Everything to everyone
Bending over backwards
Pin him down? (It can't be done)
His mind's made up and undone too
He's stretched so thin, he's quite see-through
All the lies are coming true
No he won't
(Yes he will!)
Hype it up
Kill the buzz
Says he can
Elastic man with elastic hands for big applause
Slamming doors, once open
Bendy pen for the bendy rules
Bendy fools have spoken
Everything to everyone but you
released April 13, 2015
Steve Robinson - Lead & Background vocals, piano, banjoke
Ed Woltil - Background vocal, keyboards, electric guitar, programming
Dave Gregory - Electric guitar, slide guitar
Andy Irvine - Bass
Chuck Darling - Drums & percussion