Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Will Krienke, Mastered by Sam Patlove
There can be a harrowing comfort, at times, in the middle of a grand, romantic collapse. When the pillars are falling down, when the face of that one that you used to love can be stared at, undetected, and all that you can see is an orb of melting skin and laugh lines falling away from the bone to reveal some gritty and disgustingly true character that you would have never thought could have been there for the longest time. It's one of those moments that can make you want to vomit, an involuntary reaction to being duped, to being thrown back out of the boat, into the water, naked and unwanted. Once that avalanche of pain passes - rather quickly most times - there comes a period of death and mourning that sets in and makes you feel older and wiser than you'd like to feel then, but it happens all the same and it's actually what pulls you through into a place, with the kinds of blue skies that can hold a sun, all of the birds and hot air balloons that anyone could decide to throw up there. You'll suddenly, or without a terribly long time of passing, feel as if - despite all of the wretchedness and deceit that you'd just gone through - you are going to make it out of this without having to live with the madness of it all, as if you can find pleasure still in some of the touching times that you shared with that person who's left you. Mauro Remiddi, of Porcelain Raft, a Brit who spends a lot of his time now in New York City, shows a masterful take on this idea of the honeymoon of a blue feeling, when the pain is still awfully fresh, but the licking of the wounds has commenced and finding peacefulness in what was had looks as if it's not going to be as impossible to come by. The manner by which he takes us there is with a feeling that, "Yes, it's over and there's no denying it, but maybe it's all just beginning." It somehow - this fall of a love -- feels like the start of a beautiful relationship. It feels tender, as if the anger and the staggering blows have subsided, only to put the protagonists into states of clouded clarity, if that makes any sense. The songs feel like the middle parts of rough patches that everyone thinks they can still work out, so thoughts are remaining friendly, nothing's gotten too nasty - though through all of this, everyone knows that it's a delusion, but they're too tired and lost to be so worked up any more. The man in "Back Words," seems to have had it bad. He sounds as if he'd had his guts and his heart ripped out of him and there he's sitting, applying pressure to his wounds, but he doesn't necessarily want to expire a bitter man, if an expiration is what's coming to him. He understands the ways of love, and in just that way, he understands that he knows nothing about it, or that nothing can prepare anyone for its unendurable endings. Early in the song, he's in a better state, singing, "Maybe I've never mentioned to you/It isn't hard to run away from home/Well, that's at least what I've shown to you/I hope you are in a nice hotel/Playing cards in your room/With someone who cares over you," seemingly hoping that everyone's doing alright, or that she's not getting what he's wished for her, which cannot be happiness. Then his sad memories return and he remembers the actions, the words that ring, "Calling everybody that I loved the most/Telling secrets no one had to know/It wasn't me that stole something from you." He finds the betrayals hard to handle and yet, there they are, they've moved in, put their bags down and taken their shoes off, so the both of them are going to have to learn what it's like to have an unwanted guest.