Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
When a man writes a song like "Friendly Fire," it doesn't matter what your other songs are like. It doesn't make a difference what they're about, or how they're sung. It doesn't matter if they're fast, slow, long, short, happy or sad. They might as well be the language of a gray and gauzy light - a bunch of nothing to look at, even if they might still be hot to the touch. This song, written by Andrew Grow, the songwriter and lead singer for Drew Grow & The Pastors' Wives, is a stake in the ground that he must measure up to every time he thinks he's onto another good lyrical idea and a warm melody. It might be something to strive toward, but should he never reach it, he shouldn't give a damn because he's got this one. It must be nice to know that there are more where this came from, but it's all just an embarrassment of riches at some point, after such a stunningly well-written piece.
Here, the Portland, Oregon man has the knife, the night, the blood, the heart it's from and meant for and the swollen eyes that see it all. He's got a song that towers and teeters, all because that's the way people are when they're living the most honestly and nobly. They should be confident and scared shitless. They should be feeling the fires cooking their skin as they stand just close enough and still far enough on the outskirts.
"Friendly Fire," is a song that comes from a man who has shared a bed with a person who has grown cold to him. They leave the bed and a hand placed on their indentation would return no heat whatsoever. They're there only in small degrees, but a bastardized notion of human nature keeps them right where they are for an indeterminate length of time, for no good reason except a sense of obligation and desperateness.
Grow sings, "It's in our bones/Cold and weary/Forty degrees/Heavy raining/Oh how I'd love to see you smiling/Feel your warmth again/We've been up nights/With no comfort/No good advice/What do we do/When what we're bleeding for is true love/What we've got here is this love," and it's as great of an ache as you're ever going to hear. These are the words of a man who has taken himself into the church for the first time in years, dragged himself into a pew, praying for a pittance, for an offering, knowing that he's likely too fucking late.