When we reviewed Poliça's latest album a couple of months ago, we reasoned that, for an album so drenched in sadness, there is a disco for the downhearted lurking beneath its surface. Those lucky enough to make it to this summer's Latitude Festival are bound to enjoy the sombre disco twinges of United Crushers as well as other stellar moments from the band's discography and, ahead of the Minneapolis quintet's return to the UK for this four-day Suffolk extravaganza, we got bassist, Chris Bierden to take our One Song I Wish I'd Written challenge.

Hello Chris. You've chosen 'I'll Come Running' by Brian Eno as the one song by another artist, which you wish you had written yourself. Do you know anything about the story behind the song?

Another Green World was recorded in London at Island Studios in 1975. He initially went into the studio with nothing prepared, but when this proved unproductive, he turned to his now infamous instruction cards, the Oblique Strategies. He collaborated with many different musicians such as Phil Collins, Paul Rudolph, Percy Jones, Robert Fripp, and John Cale, and all of the lyrics were generally written in a free associative style, where he would initially sing nonsense syllables, then forming them into lyrics later. There is a Peel Session version of 'I'll Come Running' recorded in 1974 by the short-lived Brian Eno and the Winkies. It's a glammed out rocker containing alternate lyrics, so I would assume the song was reworked from this older material.

What is it about 'I'll Come Running' that you love?

Honestly, it's hard for me to think about just one song off of Another Green World, the entire thing feels like such a complete thought, but I picked this one in particular because it is both playful and sincere and sonically brilliant - a nice representation of why I love Eno's work. The lyrics are abstract, yet give me a sense of child-like familiarity, a perfect dream-state.

Do you remember when you first heard 'I'll Come Running' and what your first impressions of it were?

I remember that the lyrics initially confounded and perplexed me. It seemed so whimsical amidst some of the more pastoral sounding music, but upon repeated listening I now seem to grasp it as a child-like musing and I love the way it breaks up the record. It highlights what can be the most difficult to achieve in music, melding the playful with the serious.

How does the rest of Another Green World compare to this song for you?

There are many instrumental songs throughout the album that seem to flow almost like interludes between the vocal driven tunes. These feel more like pastoral scenery, an impressionistic approach that creates a vivid sense of space and fantastical imagery. I always feel like I am taken to surreal, strange, and wonderful place when I listen to this record.

Do you tend to like most of Eno's music or is it this particular song and album that draws you to him?

I am a big fan of all of Eno's music. He was constantly evolving, experimenting and collaborating, and his work has shaped a lot of the aesthetic decision making I used to create music.

Have you ever covered this song: (i) on your own in the shower; (ii) live during a Poliça show; (iii) on record; or (iv) all of the above?

The first time I ever collaborated with Ryan Olson, producer/composer of Poliça, was for a Brian Eno cover set. I sang vocals. We did not cover this song, but we were both very close to his work as a whole, and it was a bonding experience that later drew me into this band. Now that you mention it, though, I'm definitely going to cover this song during my next shower.

What is your favourite lyric in the song?

  • "I want to be the wandering sailor
  • We're silhouettes by the light of the moon"

It's such a lovely image and it fits perfectly with the song's swaying, seafaring lilt. But anything that references the sea and the night sky is gonna get me, these entities seem to want to devour us whole and you can't help but be humbled by them.

Is there a bit of arrangement or instrumentation in the song that you like especially?

Robert Fripp's lush and ethereal guitar work at 1:47, my God, I could take a bath in that for the rest of my life and never grow tired of it. You'll hear a lower fuzz guitar counterpart throughout the entire song and the way these melodies intertwine at this moment is a nice little dance. And then Eno's voice comes back in with the chorus line and a layered counterpart of "ohs" above that, a hypnotic chant that gets repeated into infinity. The song starts twirling and spinning and at this moment I'd rather it never end.

Would you say that any of your own writing has in any way ever been influenced by this song?

All of Eno's music has been vastly influential to me and not just the songs themselves, but the ideas and methods that went into creating them. He looks for the brilliance in a mistake, a curator of chance operations, and it's an ethic I attempt to imbue in my work as well. He has likened music to painting and I like to think of it as architecture, so there is a similar thread there too. The way he treats his voice has also been instructive. It's another instrument, another piece of the puzzle and treated as such. He taught me that the sound of a word can be heeded just as much as any notion of meaning.

Which song from United Crushers would you be interested in hearing a Brian Eno take on?

The song 'Berlin' uses a minimalistic approach and feels like a pulsing nocturne. I'd be curious to see what his take on it would be.

Poliça's United Crushers is out now. Latitude Festival takes place at Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk between 14-17 July. For ticket information head here.