In the Guardian‘s “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction” feature a few weeks ago, Michael Moorcock advised young writers to imitate their idols. Northern Portrait likes the Smiths. The musicians make no secret of it, even throwing a little of Morrissey’s glum wit into the lyrics, a romantic sweetness in one line finding itself undercut in the next, a car running over a Valentine’s Day card. “Listen to the sea as it kisses the shore / Like so many times before.” Smartly they don’t push it too far. None of them are Marr, but a borderline jangle is easier to forgive than a borderline lyric. In other places the Danes are merely British, describing an ex-friend in one song as, “not exactly overwhelming”.
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