“Your place it just gives me the creeps when I come over
Cos your talk is the talk of ghosts
I missed what you said, it kept on disappearing
And slamming the open doors
And now that I don't come by your new distractions
Have become to you everything
Well I need to work out just how to make you see it
Cos your mind it needs opening
When it kicks in, when it kicks in you'll know
When it kicks in, when it kicks in you'll know it alright
When it kicks in, when it kicks in you'll know it
A truth drug is gonna open your weeping eyes”
- From When It Kicks In by Iain Archer
Bangor born songwriter Iain Archer isn’t always as up front in his lyrics as on this rocked out song from his Magnetic North album. Member of Tired Pony, Ivor Novello winner with Snow Patrol and James Bay, the latter one gaining him Grammy nomination, Archer’s own work often name checks his homeland but he is rarely as preachy as he is here.
The first two verses of the song describe a bomb scene that Archer found himself in while doing a live session in a Belfast city music store. What we get in the verses above are his thoughts of a particular week in September 2005 when N. Ireland beat the mighty England at soccer, making the Northern Irish boy in London very proud, followed by scenes of sectarian violence on the streets of his old home city that made him ashamed.
Archer prophetically besieges the fortress of the old divisions and lack of listening and engagement before getting almost eschatological in the hopefulness of a day when truth will allow basic sense and human tolerance to kick in. I guess sometimes even “basic” and “human” need something beyond to bring the reality crashing in.
When It Kicks In is a big tune, with a big challenge, drenched in a big hopefulness!
Tonight (Feb 3, 2017 Iain will be talking about songs such as this. In a gentle conversationalist way about his art he will draw out hope, healing in wonder in Belfast, Our Wounded and Wonderful City before giving us a concert... at 4 Corners Festival 17... Iain Archer in Conversation & Concert. Doors at 7.30. FREE but expected donation).