Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Seems like it would be really great to know what's going to flash across your mind if you were ever to be involved in a serious automobile accident, you're lying there expiring on the pavement, but with enough time and coherence left to experience one last round of dialogue with yourself. It would be great to know what that last blurting, that last utterance would be, even if the previewed knowledge that you were going to die grotesquely in a catastrophic wreck wouldn't be all that wonderful to know. What I'd like to think would happen in such a case would be akin to the grand finale of an Independence Day fireworks show, with the shooters loading and sending out all of the explosives left hanging around the launch pad. Everything gets thrown out there - fragments and flares, a mish-mash of brilliance, an emptying of the tank that leaves everyone a little moved and those lighting the fuses and standing back feeling a great sense of accomplishment and euphoria.
Philadelphia's Hermit Thrushes have a way of making you think such mortality thoughts, even if they don't necessarily mean to. The band's songs come in such quick, short-lived blasts, like expressions that can't wait, like soliloquies that follow directly behind someone having to shush another and say, "Look, this is really hard for me so just let me get this out." The longest song on this session is a total of one-minute, 46-seconds, but our thoughts about last words and such has little to do with the brevity of the group's music. It has more to do with the imagery that lead singer Yianni Kourmadas and bandmates Andrew Keller, Charlie Biando, Nick Brannon, Sam Tremble throws into it that makes all the difference. Little phrases, like "silver spirit" and others like it, seem formed on impulse, as if the mouth just opened and released whatever non-transcribed, non-transferrable thoughts were in the queue. They come to greet you and then they're gone, out and into the ether, with the clock still ticking down to the final grains of sand - onto the next one. They bleet and blow, squirm and pile-drive, all on the one condition that there are no rules about what can happen next, at any moment. They can be neither justified, nor summarized. The songs are cascades, doing what they need to, expressing what they need to and then they gracefully evaporate into thin air, happy to have existed for the short time that they did.