Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove, Photo provided by Sheri Foreman
We start from such a warm place, all of us, and then suddenly we're here and everything immediately cools. There's a dramatic fallout, with the room temperature getting to our skin and striking the first blow. It's enough to set off all the alarms and we resort to wailing, expressing out distaste for what's being done to us. It's the first intuition that we get -- even if we don't recognize it at the time -- that we're largely in this alone and it's not going to be pretty, not by a long shot. Over time, we learn to diminish our impetuous responses, the urge to cry foul the second something feels like a slight. We're able to call on other manners of communication and influence to address what we believe to be significant snuffs and affronts to our perceived birthright of comfort and stability, which shall never be accosted or threatened at any time, or so help us. It's such an unreasonable stance to take, but it's one that we're built with, or that's adopted at infancy: that we're getting fleeced. We never really get away from that feeling, you know, that we aren't getting as much of the pie or ice cream as everyone else, that there are aspects about the hue and vibrancy of the lawn next door that we just cannot get over no matter how hard we do try. It's one of the nastiest flaws that we carry. It makes us scared and it forces us to go about everything we do with eyes slit and with a heightened sense of impending and imposing doom. It's right there at our fingertips and we can be consumed by it, if we let it and a lot of our days, we let it. We get so overly consumed that it takes us a number of days to break free from those webs and by that time, we know what's coming next, again. Portland, Oregon, band AgesandAges, a band from Portland, Oregon, of magnificent harmonies, delves into these matters headfirst, with lead singer Tim Perry leading the group as it helps him smoke out the whimpers and the worrisome feelings of being in danger at all times, as if the clock was ticking for something that we continue not to understand. There are a lot of protective measures taken by the characters in AgesandAges songs, as if they're readying themselves for some kind of an overthrow. Perry sings about "living in a fortress, safe from the madness," on the band's full-length debut, "Alright You Restless," and then everyone warns us later on that, despite our sanctity, we should brace ourselves for the hour because maybe there's nothing that anyone can do to stop that from ringing. The songs come from places that are askew, places where there's little firm ground and there's a scent in the air of turmoil and everything about ready to shift one way or the other. There's not much confidence, just a shaky sensation that will have to do for sustinance. It feels like Perry, like the characters in his songs, has surrounded himself with people with similar fears, but different things they can offer in defense of those fears and therein lies he support needed. We have words and we have atlases. We have a general sense of where we belong, but only a notion that borders on hunch and the dream state. We can find these sorts of people who will come along with us, add to our voice, make it sound more confident than it is, amplified and there's a chance we'll be able to get out of here with some shreds of sanity and without being ripped to pieces.