Elastica have excellent post-punkers Wire to thank for “Line Up”, nicking the melody line from “I Am The Fly”. As Wire songs go IATF is really not one of their best. I would have pilfered “Field Day For The Sundays" instead: "I wanna be a LINE UP IN A LINE UP so they can fuck up my life…" etc. Hmm. Maybe not.
This is the first track on Elastica, and contains the pleasant sounds of drummer Justin retching. Nice! The lyrics are pretty wretched (“She’s a hormonal nightmare — do you care?”) but Annie’s bassline is totally solid, propping up the vomiting and the out-of-sync guitars. It’s just as swaggery and lopsided, but meaty enough to push the song along, like six pints of bitter propelling you up and down Chalk Farm Road looking for somewhere still open that will sell you blue Rizlas.
This song was responsible for one of the most excruciating moments of my adolescence. I was playing the album to my two best chums Karina and Shim, who were into metal (they taught me how to play the riff to “Enter Sandman”). Neither of them thought indie was any cop, and I was desperate to make Elastica seem more hardcore than they were. It was a tough sell — “Line Up” contained no shock-gore or satanic rites. It didn’t even have any swearing in it. Karina and Shim were unimpressed. I panicked and did what any teenager would have done, viz. made up some complete bollocks:
"Yeah… this song’s really nasty. It’s about… er… people lining up in front of a firing squad."
Karina was (rightly) appalled. “That’s awful. I don’t think I want to listen to this.”
Gah! What sort of metaller was she? Answer: One that totally saw through my bullshit.