Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Matt Oliver
Martin Crane has the uncanny ability to lure us into a magnificent wonder world that somehow feels like something that couldn't possibly be real, though it's not fantastical either. It's one that seems as if it should be fashioned out of felt torn from a twisted storybook or off Kermit the Frog or Fozzie the Bear's backside - a nursery rhyme or fable that's tethered more in domestic troubles and worries, but feels full of prose and succulent colors and lighting. It all gives Brazos songs a chance to feel clever and quirky and of their own incredible standard, of which there's no wasted movement, effort or sound. Every piece of the puzzle is as important as any other and when they're put together, with Crane's careful touch and eye, the songs on his brand-new, self-released beauty, "Phosphorescent Blues," are fascinating parts Wes Anderson and Pavement. It's quirky indie rock that has its own personal color scheme and language as Crane places a premium on the full context as well as the stereo sound that's presented as a panoramic sensation, if that even makes sense. It envelops us as a vision. The colors that Crane uses on the phenomenal track "Day Glo," are based in a rusty bucket orange and a hound dog brown, not to mention the dark gray of an overcast sky that doesn't make us melancholy, but instead makes us high. It's a song that has brilliant imagery of old-time thoughts and carefree afternoons filled with camaraderie and golden bonds between having nothing better to do and just staring off into a weedy clearing and at a brush pile sitting on the edge of the property - the temporary home to a pack of foxes. Crane sings, "My friends on the edge of the old graveyard/They sit on an old gray porch and watch foxes play/A jug a wine/The kind of wine that you don't mind spilling/That you don't mind spilling." This snapshot of foxes playing and an easily mistakable image of the foxes frolicking and juggling wine (a jug a - a jugglin') like oranges or tennis balls - though it's really the old boys on the porch getting tipsy, we know - is romantic and beautiful in a way. It lets us refrain from seriousness for a second and we can slump into a story that will take us someplace that we haven't heard or touched on before. It's an amazing thing and Crane does this frequently, running ideas by us with the same kind of speed that we'd experience if we were hurtling through a tunnel and trying to read all of the postings and graffiti on the stone walls as we sped by. And yet, while the original thoughts are plentiful, the trip doesn't feel like a rush, but one in a regal and classy automobile, one that looks like it should always carry a man in an ascot and a woman sparkling with pearls, never going fast enough to stir a hair out of place. "Phosphorescent Blues," is an album that deserves raves and much attention as it ties together many of the original sounds that we have found ourselves devouring over the last couple of decades: the flair of the dramatic, the rock solid ability to spin a tale, the scruffiness, the tension, the charm and the irresistible sugary hooks. On "Kid," Crane sings, "I am your second skin/I am that feeling/I'm here to take from you, your heart," and it comes off mystical and tropical, leaving us burning up.