Only 54 seconds long, but every word is true.
I usually start taking time off after my birthday until the new year. It gives me time to write the novel I’m working on, and catch up on general medical shit. However, I found myself thinking about how NO ONE knows this album and that is a fucking shame. Especially when everything feels so bleek right now.
Things We Lost In The Fire is melancholy: the album. Not in that “15 and deep” kind of way, more in that “I don’t have the energy to do anything today”, and that is a perfect way to define right now. Hell, the lyrics are not even to dower, and the music is the furthest thing from crushing. It’s just so slow, so delicate, and perfectly mixed.
I came across this album by complete mistake forever ago. I thought that it had a beautiful, yet very minimalist, design. I was a fan of the record label (Kranky) and I was familiar with other acts produced by Steve Albini. It was the perfect storm, and I will not say the rest of the discography from this band is disappointing, but they have never lived up to this release.
Defined as “slow core”, this album boasts a very minimalist soundscape. The instrumentation uses very few instruments all being sustained with to the limits of how there sound will resonate. Parts (track 3, Dinosaur Act, song below) remind me a little bit of Matthew Good Band Beautiful Midnight era, mixed with Wintersleep’s Untitled. The lyrics feel like just an added flourish instead of a focus.
That is not to say the lyrics are throw-away. Kind of the opposite: the poetry being displayed is as powerful as the interact play of noises being performed by the instruments. My point is more that they are never overpowering the other sounds, more complementing them.
Seriously, if you are reading while drinking a warm beverage of choice, watching the weather outside, or dwelling how that person you fancy doesn’t fancy you back: this album is perfect. It also works while reflecting on how invisible you are.
I know that I have talked about this album before. It has been a while, though: so I will take this opportunity to talk about it some more!
I think even if I was to limit myself by genre, I would find a way to shoe-horn this release into that list somehow!
Think hip-hop with a live clarinet. Confused? GOOD!
This album was a literal random buy on my trip to Iceland that I enjoyed with my brother. We missed seeing them by a matter of days, which bothered me when I finally got to listen to this album in all its splendor.
This album is both incredibly beautiful, and incredibly haunting. Very synth and vocal based, which makes the clarinet stand out even more. The voices (though in Icelandic) lull the listener into a trance. The harmonies are perfect. This album is perfect. If you haven’t listened to it in its entirety yet, DO IT!
Fuck, I love this album.
I play: this album is pretty well of opposite of what people think I would be into. Not only is it primarily acoustic, the vocalist has a thick Scottish accent which makes it sounds like he has marbles in his mouth. What gets neglected is just how perfect it fits cold days sitting in front of a computer screen.
As always, my favourite track is the opening song, Cherubs. I opens with a very digital kick drum accenting the two and four beats of the measure. The majority of the song is carried by an almost etherial acoustic guitar and a ghostly piano line that dance gracefully over the vocals. Maybe it’s because of how almost stereotypical the accent is, but it feels like someone narrating over a dreamscape.
I cannot hear a bass in most of the album. The low end is filled by the guitar, and it is a risk that pays off. The almost minimalistic approach maintains a dream-like quality to every track. This is accentuated by the playing with structure.
Though it can be argue, the songs on this album seem to buck traditional organization in favour for an almost natural feel. Parts repeat when they don’t seem to have rhyme or reason to, other parts that feel like there should be a reprise with never return. It can either be frustrating or liberating. In some ways, I feel like it’s the best part. The feel of this album is the main selling point, and the incomplete frustration that occurs almost adds to it.
As mentioned, Cherubs is my favourite track. However, I cannot say that any song is not worth a listen. A few songs elaborate on the fake drums, which never detract from the music by the way. I actually appreciate the fact that the members knew that they were not able to perform the drums. That way, the hits are perfect for what needs to be played.
No one seems to know of this band. If you like this album, I recommend whatever you can find. I admit, I have done little research into this band before today. I can confirm that they get more elaborate with later albums (like how their is a full band on “The Last Romance”) and the structures remain somewhat the same.
Of course, I cannot mention this band without bringing up my friend Adam Evers and his EP that he released earlier this year (2019). Fantastic release that needs all the attention in the world.
Adam is a talented musician who lives in Toronto, Canada. He is stupid talented, and his voice is amazing. I am getting ahead of myself.
Adam recorded an EP called Moments a few months ago. It blew me away. I’m not normally interested in acoustic jams, but this is exactly what I wanted. Somber, warm, and new yet familiar. I really dig it.
I hate to make comparisons when it is independent music, but it really reminds me of A Perfect Circle‘s acoustic stuff mixed with mild Arab Strap. Beautiful and haunting. I cannot help but feel that this EP is important when I listen to it. The whole adventure last just under fifteen minutes, but the impact it had on me was significant. I have listened to this simple set of recordings dozens of times.
It wouldn’t be a review from me if I didn’t talk, at length, about the instrumentation. The first track is a perfect example of how to do acoustic music right: tasteful violins, huge percussion, wispy vocals, beautiful bass, and minimal (yet poignant) guitar riffs.
I don’t really have a favourite on the album, but I am partial to the song Bodies. I don’t have reason to say any song above another, but maybe because it’s just a beautiful song and a perfect example of what I enjoy about music. Maybe because I am just listening through the EP for the fifth time since I started writing this review and the song just came up again.
Know what? I can sit here all day and talk about how music this EP touches me, or you can listen to it yourself and understand where I am coming from. It’s available on every possible outlet for sale, but YouTube has the whole thing up for stream.
This is one of those albums that I forget about for a couple of months, then I binge it like I just found it for the first time again. Haunting, beautiful, etherial, other adjectives… I truly love everything about this album. To emphasize: I have been trying to write this for the last hour, and I keep getting distracted by singing and dancing to this amazing bit of auditory bliss.
This album opens with and absolute crushing cacophony of drums, then the bass kicks in giving a sample of what’s to come. On the fifth bar, there is a snare flourish. You are then greeted by a slap of tremolo guitar emphasizing how beautiful the next 49 minutes are going to be.
I’m not going to lie, I have been holding back doing any writing on this album because it holds as one of my favourite albums of all time. Only three albums (Cursive’s Domestica, Sparta’s Wiretap Scars, The Stills’ Oceans Will Rise) have even gotten close to overtaking it in the pantheon of amazing, but they are still miles away. There is something both timeless and time-capturing about this album. It perfectly encapsulates what was going on in music in the early nauts, but can be enjoyed by anyone at the same time.
Lyrically, this album is a powerhouse. The most nihilistic and honest lyrics you will find in the Canadian pop scene. It did come out at a time where there seemed to be a nineties revival where that subject matter is concerned. You had Modest Mouse telling you how beautiful and horrible life is, Bloc Party expressing confusion in the sexual scene, and The Strokes trying their best to describe how life goes when you’re messed up on every drug. The Stills fit nicely by putting way too much description in the mundane: describing things in a situation where you would not be paying attention to them whatsoever.
Musically, this album is strange for me to sing its praises. The bass is cool and driving, keeping the beat and being the main melody next to the voice. Why I say it’s strange for me to love everything about this album musically is because there is nothing incredible or mind-blowing going on. All of the songs are in 4/4. The guitar is primarily being tremolo’d. The bass, though the driving force, is very basic. The singer sounds like he has had five or six beers and a joint while awaiting for his turn to perform on the recording.
There is something absolutely beautiful happening. It’s just perfect in its simplicity. Due to it being easy to follow, it becomes a joy to sing along to.
So, in closing: listen to this album. No, I don’t have a song to recommend. There is a music video I will place at the end of this review, but it is not my favourite. I only have to say that because none of the songs are my favourite. This album is just amazing through and through.
I look up to see something blocking out the sun.
That something grows larger until it falls on me.
My first reaction is to lift my arms to stop it.
After opening my eyes, I am surprised to find that I have actually caught the thing.
My legs tremble beneath me.
My arms shake.
I cannot guess what it is or how this giant thing is not crushing me.
I am not strong enough to hold it.
Based on its sheer weight I should be flattened right now.
So then why am I not?
This giant thing hangs by some force other than my own.
What is saving me right now?
I groan at the weight of my predicament.
Glancing skywards I catch a glimpse of a shiny thing glinting in the sunlight.
Am I holding this thing up, or is it holding me down?
I look towards the safety of home a short distance away.
From here I can see members of my family.
I can see the rocks marking entry to the colony moved by some power to now block the hole instead.
My family is trapped.
I can see them.
Something terrible is happening.
I wince and shake beneath the incredible burden pinning me.
I cannot get out from under this thing without being crushed.
I, too, am trapped.
Is there purpose behind all this?
I glance up at the shiny thing hovering over home and watch the sunlight focus through it.
It magnifies into a pure point that directs at the earth.
I keep my arms pressed under the giant crushing thing.
What else can I do?
I look back at home.
I can’t save them.
My family is lost.
They run in all directions.
Why is this happening?
I can hear their screams.
I watch that point follow my sister as she flees.
It lights her up.
Then she screams.
She starts to smoke from the inside out.
Then she blackens and chars.
Then she combusts.
Nothing is left of her.
What sort of being would allow this to happen?
Where is God?
The beam of light moves again.
Another sister is caught as she flees.
She burns up before she can cry out.
So I cry for her.
Is the thing that holds me down the same that is killing my family?
I watch the shiny thing methodically direct that light of burning terror and death at my family.
My whole family is panicking.
Does it know what it is doing?
This thing about to crush me into oblivion?
Was this misery inflicted by choice?
Some sick joke a giant plays on those it is bigger than?
I cannot think of a prayer that will save me.
Almighty, spare this poor ant from being crus—.
That concludes the second anewsin Publication! I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you to Hannah Jordan for submitting this work a little while ago. Please, leave her some love at this link to help support her.
Instead of posting all the pictures that were taken, I will just link you to the page with the demos instead. We are still waiting on the final products (because editing pictures is a bitch, I hear) but the results on this page were absolutely stunning. If the final products are anywhere as amazing as these, I will be ecstatic.
I’ll do a real update next week, maybe.