Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The wood-burning fire is pumping. The sea is smashing against the coast, just outside the window of the cold, corner room. There is a dear, dear silence that has come to visit and these will be sprawling nights, nights that lack any definitive form. They are liable to shoot out at weird angles, jutting away from you, like a just freed and frightened wild animal, zigging and zagging as it runs for its life once more. They are twice as likely to feel as if they were lost, if they were as mysterious and undefined as they were before all the contemplation.
Hey Marseilles songs sweep us up into these moments of vitality that feel as if they're dire, as if they might take us all up in their waves of passionate movement and floating and sweep us out to join the deep, dark midnight waters that give off the sense that they're bottomless. It's water that makes you think that if you were to fall into it, there would be no sound and there would be little fear, just sinking into it, getting swallowed up by your own abyss. It's not a sea apart from you, in the songs that Matt Bishop and the rest of this large and emotive Seattle band write, but rather a sea that you've been draining out from within you for quite some time. It's your own. Everything that you've let escape is going to be what either buoys you or drowns you. Navigated correctly, all of the failed loves, all of the wasted love, all of the sadness and happiness will find a way to surround a person, long after it seems as if it's stopped affecting. There's no getting away from it and Hey Marseilles takes us into those places.
Some of them are to be feared, like the ones found in the dead of night, and others are just that sense of déjà vu, or that overwhelming feeling that you're not alone. Most of the time, that works out for you, but sometimes that leaves you with goose bumps - creeped out and trying to pull yourself closer in, when no one else will. Bishop seems to write primarily about destiny and how we're brought to it or it's brought to us. It's never a clean hand-off, but he writes about it with a glorious hand. While he brings sadness into these folds, it's not the prevailing tone, even when it feels like it might be.
Hey Marseilles songs are more about where the good lies, where the happiness went and when love will return to these parts. It's the most uplifting gloominess you'll ever encounter. The "endless blue and gray" is large, but the particles that make it up are but specks. Up above, the "bright stars burning" are also nothing more than specks, but damned if they don't contribute so much more to the demeanor and the condition of these resilient beings. Bishop sings, "We will make our own ending," and if you weren't aware of how many pages you were going to have to tear out of the typewriter, crumple and toss into the wastebasket, you weren't considering how complicated endings were.