|the sound discovered when I found what love could do / but I'm tired from the past and too frightened by the future...|
How to amplify a moment...so that it lasts?
We long ago grew too cynical to admit (or perhaps it'd be oversharing?) at how much emotion could be stoked inside us by a song...
Here I am, hesitant, to admit that I wanted to try writing about the beauty of a song like "The Maul" with my eyes closed.
Emotions distort. For better and for worse, for pleasure and for dismay; the roil up and your brain's dopamine tsunamis and you don't know if which way is up anymore or whether you're in love or just crazy. That's the kind of distortion, flowing like electricity through its veins, that embodies 800beloved songs.
What I always admired about singer/songwriter Sean Lynch's approach to the songs of 800beloved was that they were nostalgia tours that took you away from the safe shores, they were pop music safaris that showed you the cliffs, they were sweet bubblegum heart-swooners that raked a coarse tread of minor keys and dissonance underneath it. These were the propulsive songs that made you feel (really feel) the beat that your heart skipped...
And so, you put your headphones on and listen closely enough to the subtle symphony of eerie drones ever-percolating at the uninpinging frames of these otherwise hook-heavy pop riffers (like "Cicadas") and you start to let the swell of tones and wavy shift of textures take you away and maybe you close your eyes... ...cuz you're feeling that distortion.
Lynch's songs on Distortion soar (and burrow) further, deeper, with more sincerity, and, perhaps, even with more scientific curiosity, then some gothy-shoegazed Corganian reading of being in love with one's sadness, so to speak...and that's because Lynch isn't just singing but he's also producing.
Lynch isn't interested in provoking one emotion, but several and sometimes all at once, as demonstrated by his meticulous layering of tones (as on the darkly effervescent "Enduring Black"), subtle arrangement of sequenced beats (as in the drifting and detached slow dance industrial wallop of "Dent On The Hill").
There's something about the metallic/foamy fuzz of those guitar tones, the chugging strums and percussion accelerated just a nervy-step faster than a calm walker's pace.
Indeed, "Some Kind Of Distortion" is the kind of song you squeezed onto a mixtape that was then hastily stuffed into the locker of the girl you had a crush on before you ran away red-faced, but "Dent On The Hill" or even "Die Slow" are the songs for the countless dark nights of your soul that followed through the answerless-days of your late 20's. There's dread in getting older just as there's dread in having a school yard crush but you're never quite sure what that feeling is, just as you're never quite sure what exactly Lynch has done to attain that certain tone or pitch or sound...or noise... It's distorted.
But then a song like "The Maul" comes on and you feel a sigh erupt and you just want to close your eyes. Lynch's voice, up until this point on the record has been a cool, melodic groan or this effectively hummy, high baritone that compliments the thrumming tone of his guitars. But on "The Maul," the echo lays on heavy and the edges fray, like the colors bleeding away from a polaroid picture or the certain way he or she said that sweet little nothing and how its warped over time like memory's game of telephone in your brain.
"I've come...to... / I've come TO..." Lynch's words reverberate through the bridge, as if he (and you) are regaining (some kind of) consciousness (after some kind of distortion).
Your head swims. It's distortion. It's like the music can take you some place, some place else...assuming you aren't too cynical. If you haven't succumb to cynicism, then this is the kind of pop music to dive into...