Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music, at 2KHz at Church Studios, Crouch End, London
Never been a smoker. It's one of those things that's never kicked in for me, but songs like the ones that Hannah Cohen makes are those that make me long for a cold wall to lean up against, blank stare cast across to the other side of the street, looking at absolutely nothing in particular. All that's wanted is to take a few minutes to make a tiny fire and then press a cigarette into the heart of that orange teardrop. It must be that first pull in, that ashing at the tip of the cigarette burning lighter quickly, that makes you immediately thankful for tobacco and ready for the second cigarette, even if you only have the time to savor the one.
The San Franciscan's words are those that come from a soul that's got two lungs full of smoke and caved in walls. They come from a jilted lover, looking for reconciliation between words and actions, between kisses and goodbyes. It's the perfect material to contemplate while standing motionless, perhaps even freezing one's ass off, while looking helplessly off into the pale, blue yonder - with a small orange piece of fire and a stick of soothing smoke between the lips and fingers. It's the tar that calms a body down, I'd imagine, along with the repetitive ins and outs of the air that's not all air, but something dark and mysterious that's been invited in, but only for a few short seconds before it's kicked out. It's a strange reverse cleansing that still manages to cleanse.
Cohen's characters all seem to be dealing with things they just can't wrap their heads around. They want someone else to care as much as they think they should care. They believe that they should at least care more than they do. They think that what's happened just isn't right. It's not logical. She sings, "Sorry everything wasn't enough," on "Sorry," which is an apology that is sarcastically made - but still with more sorrowful inflections than biting or vengeful ones. She hurts and knows that she can do nothing else but move on and take her love with her because "behind those eyes, something isn't right." It's a line that carries more weight than anything else. It kinda just means there was no avoiding any of what happened so it's best to just find a cold wall to lean and smoke cigarettes against.
Hannah Cohen Official Site
Bella Union Records