Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Words come tumbling out of Duluth, Minnesota's Luke Redfield like dripping time, like they're coming from a man who has come to grips with all of the loopholes, with all of the asterisks, with all of the hot air, the love unspent and the graves not yet dug out of the ground. They are words that have been cooked and massaged. They are pained and they are nuanced. They have been gathered and aged, even as they come from a younger man still getting his footing, still with many curtains to look around to see the ropes, pulleys, gears and mechanisms running the shows.
Redfield brings a poignancy to these patient songs of being landlocked and hand-wrung, heading down "a chemical trail," of being dragged somewhere that's unwanted, somewhere of bent and broken knees, where home is something of a myth. With more of a mountain sensibility, he sounds like a younger version of the current ambitions of Conor Oberst, when he was making Bright Eyes records. These songs are in the vein of classic folk traditions, though with a current take on being flushed down the toilet, of being unheard and diseased. They are songs about hopefulness in the face of great odds, of waiting for the world to start, while staring into the pupils of dead eyes and sensing that the pits are just a few steps ahead.
Redfield sings of dreams, but they sound like dark clouds. There's something about the current state of all things that has whatever's up ahead or in-store feeling more promising. He sings, "How can the body rise in emptiness/How can the light come from the abyss," and the question that's being raised is one that's sprung from a thought of a second life, of an exit and a redo or a transformation. On "Rebel Dreams," he sings of the love that he's made with a beautiful woman, of the perfect lips that he's kissed and how they don't compare to where he's going. It's that thought of the afterlife, of the wonderland after the hell that makes itself known here. He sings, "I've tasted the empty/I've basked in the void/It don't compare to where I'm going." He'll be patient until then.