My grandmother’s house lies at the edge of a small town in the sprawling county of Lincolnshire. It is the last in a small row of bungalows and out of the front room window I can see fields and trees and the changing light. This winter I have been walking in the fields by my grandmother’s house and listening to The Glow pt 2 by The Microphones. Guitars, drums and vocals reverberate against a large white sky.
I love this album. I love it in a way that obliterates all other music. I love the dynamics – the raging and the lulling, the ebb and flow from track to track. The sound of the strummed classical guitar moves from ear to ear, piano and steel pan stumble through the wall of electric guitar and drums. The balance between lyric and instrumentation is perfection. Rather than clutter the album with an ever present voice and tired words that ramble the vocals are occasional; an occasion. Each time words are sung they make a deep, deliberate cut in busy flesh, a footprint in the snow. In “I want wind to blow” the voice is clear and plain “I could not get through September without a battle”. The line “my blood flows harshly” is delivered as a crescendo roar.
The instrumentation veers from brutal to elemental, from clatter to melodic lullaby. This is reflected in the lyrics, which swerve from natural to urban imagery, placing the album firmly and importantly in the present.
“The sound of cars,
The smell of bars,
The awful feeling of electric heat.” (I want wind to blow)
This album is about a body in the world, about the connection between the two. In “You’ll be in the air” this connection is explored explicitly “if you just moved your arms then you could tell that you are in the air.” The bodies in this album are stationary and stuck, disconnected and yearning. They are stranded by the complexity of the world around them. Its an album about a heart left raw by loss and living. It is about love and breath, honest and direct in its approach.
“I went back and wished I hadn’t
I went back and felt regret
I went to the beach and I stared west” (The Moon)
As I listen to this album I think of Anne Carson’s The Glass Essay, a poem/essay about mothers and moors, about the Brontes and heartache.
“Perhaps the hardest thing about losing a lover is to watch the year repeat its days…I can feel that other day running underneath this one like an old videotape”
I was going to write about how The Glow Pt 2 is poetry. How Essay and poetry and music all blend into one in my head when I walk and how essay and poem and song become life. But it seems trite. It seems unimportant now, that question of what is poetry and what is song. When the late afternoon light hits the snow on the fields and turns it a deep pink,it feels like lots of things don’t matter so much.
I think of Anne Carson, Mount Eerie, Emily Bronte all walking into the wind.
In The Glass Essay Carson quotes Emily Bronte, saying the “soul is hewn in a wild workshop”. I walk and listen and feel the wind and bits of me are cut away and I feel raw and sculpted.