Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
"Deaf Comes To Everyone," a song off of Ben Godfrey and band's latest album, sounds as if you're hearing him incorrectly at first. He sings the words from the title and you could swear he was singing about death - and he is in a way - but he's more singing about the ways that people shut themselves off or down, depending on the person or the situation in front of them. We've all practiced being islands before. Most of the time we prefer it. There's less worry, fewer bills and things that can keep us up at night. An ambivalence to most things and most mouths, most faces and all of the eyes out there, could be the greatest defense mechanism there is, but it's also the loneliest one. It's one that requires an ongoing resolve to make oneself unavailable to openings and to arms. It's an existence of necessity, like the tree that knows that when it starts to feel the skies open up and deliver a much-needed rain shower that it makes sure its roots are agape, ready to receive their nourishment. If the rain isn't coming, those roots stretch themselves in odd, but appropriate ways and try to get to whenever it can prey on available moisture. It will gravitate to the water at all costs - changing its posture and disfiguring itself beyond recognition, if that's what it takes.
A person could reasonably do a similar thing if the desperate times called for those desperate measures. Godfrey seems to think along these lines with Listen!Listen!, exploring the lengths to which the desperate folks might go to get to where they need to be in terms of their basic necessities. He sings, "The body knows what it needs," and it will go out and get it. Some just take enough to keep running and others take more than they should and both methods can lead to some strange entanglements. He sings of cowardly words and cowardly people, giving his lyrics the feel of vulnerable Jeff Mangum or Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck - though when do either of those fellows not sound as if they're vulnerable and a bit frail, looking out into the abyss. Godfrey finds the meat in the scraps, building whole songs and albums around man's innate ability to get by and his reluctance to believe that it's enough. There's always more to get, more to feel and more to give and, essentially, most of that can be good.
Listen!Listen! Official Site