Sarah from Drug Store Romeos

writes a love letter to

Broadcast's Trish Keenan

Illustration by

Maks Graur

Drug Store Romeos have been a fixture on the South London pub gig scene since long before any of them could legally buy drinks. The three piece from Hampshire met in Year 9 and cut their teeth at Brixton's Windmill and New Cross' 5 Bells (RIP) before supporting acts like HMLTD and The Orielles, and signing to Fiction records in 2019. Their wistful, electronic tinged indie calls to mind the dreamy slowcore of  '90's bands like Stereolab and Broadcast—which is why  it came as no surprise that when we asked Sarah, the band's singer to write a love letter, she chose Broadcast's Trish Keenan (who sadly passed away in 2011, aged 42) as the recipient :

Dear Trish,

I start writing you this letter in a vocal recording booth as I await my time to sing. I always choose to do my vocals in a separate little room if they have one. It creates intimacy with myself but detachment from the reality of everyone else’s environment. A room of one’s own. Charlie, our producer, has ‘lit’ some electric candles. They are growing on me. Though the brown tired curtains and ornate wooden panels that expose bound cloth through little wooden Celtic crosses do make me feel as if I’m about to confess my sins. That’s not quite my style but this strange Englishness has resonated something inside. A dim room warmed with electric candles, a small dim room not much bigger than a drying cupboard bearing resemblance to a confession booth, a confession booth connecting the intimate to isolate. It all somehow makes me feel you. I was recently recording with Dan Carey in Streatham and as you step outside his semi-detached home/studio on to the red brick walkway for its opposing residence I see a most familiar view. The ones that give you a surge of nostalgia with no particular memory. A long stone corridor opening to brick buildings cutting into the sky in adjacent but irregular angles that compliment each other in nonsensical conversation. It filled me strangely of contentment then, as I saw three seagulls gliding around each other I felt you in Birmingham. I thought you might of also enjoyed scenes of that feeling.

I sit here now, back to wall, thinking I should probably restrain myself from deviating further from the subject of your music. Let’s try. If I try to recall the moment when I first heard you there is only the faintest line, it seems the how and the why and the when left that moment. Tears In The Typing Pool connected my feet to yours and walked me through the door into world within your mind. An Alice In Wonderland in monochrome. You fragment England into bending streets, blackboards, long distant runners, abandoned discos, autonomy textbooks, bending lights, conservatory x-rays. They ride the train set in your bedroom, carried by a loose static metal rail conduction. Those synths. What they do to my chest. So enigmatically charged with effervescent electricity. Human error in a machine. The ones in Black Cat and Tender Buttons could be my favourite. They charge my stomach like the bounce of a car over a little foot hill.

I’m sorry. I just scribbled out a whole paragraph of writing. Somehow it felt as if my ego came out to play. Drawing comparisons to our writing techniques, that was okay, how upon reading I found we both use the cut and paste method to write our lyrics. Then I started talking of the different publications I use, I I I blahhhh.

I’m not sure that if we met when you were still around we’d be friends but I’m okay with that. Maybe the beauty of this connection is that I don’t know you, that the girl on Tender Buttons cover with the vacant but intrusive eyes exists within me. At the times we coalesce in sound you ripple in the part of my consciousness that feels to exist only in the sky. Thank you, you have given so much.

You left us far too soon but you exist in us forever. Rest in peace Trish, as for the rest of you, I hope you are doing well. Thank you.

Love,

Sarah

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Under the Cover