Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Stay away from the dream world of Wil Wright if you're wary of your own nightmares. Cause the ones that this man harbors and has over for sleepovers are doozies. They're monsters and they smother you with creeping vines that will pull on you for days. The sinister things that the Knoxville, Tennessee, musician is riddled with when he sleeps are terribly disturbing and they're just as terribly inspirational and entertaining as we're welcomed bedside for his séance - an event of great, spectacularly arbitrary sunstance. We can watch a man possessed, not by Satan, but by everything else. Wright, the lead singer for Senryu, a player in Physics of Meaning with Daniel Hart and a man who has a restraining order against all felines which bars dander-drafting animals from getting any closer than 100 feet from him at all times, has an endless capacity for bringing in the tidal wave of stimulus that we're all bombarded with and finding at least half of it partially sticking to the roofs of his mouth and brain. All of this catch and very little release, it seems, makes for a diabolical porridge of interwoven swarms and tendrils of ideas. When the lights go down and he's left with nothing but the sometimes ripe, sometimes rotting thoughts in his mind, that's when it all gets interesting and somewhat frightening. Wright's not a scary man, but he's inhabited with an indomitable propensity toward objects and themes that can work you into cold sweats and barbaric shivering. He squeals sometimes in these songs and he wails sometimes. He lets the tempo take us on these hunts and lets things get frantic and chaotic when it lends more to the feelings that are making the heart and pulse race with fear or excitement. He invites us into the house of tarantulas, a spookhouse that he describes as a "best of" of his dreams, most of which he says feature him as some variety of animal. Here, on a song of the same name as his house, Wright and Senryu take us to the point in all of those old National Geographic film strips that we watched in junior high showing the slimy and soft-membraned eggs of fat snakes being vomited past their fangs and out their mouths, in succession. We're there as they're incubated and the slithery things crack through those thin walls ready to bite and function as tumultuous bogeymen. What Wright does so well with his jittering and jabbing version of kooky, melodic post-punk is that he makes it into an odd and multi-dimensional freak fest without letting it just derail and get all messy on the floor. It's not the kind of freakouts that the freaks would claim, but the ones that the rest of us still feel as if we're invited to. We might encounter a snip from a rabid, psychedelic monkey while we're in the middle of a verse or a fur-flying refrain, but it's not going to be deadly. It's just going to be exhilarating as the band makes sure to keep us close to its side, offering pleasant landing spots and parachutes. Wright wrote a suite of songs about disconnect and one is featured in the session - hitting on some of his memories of splitting his time between divorced parents when he was younger - giving us this line, "Does anybody know where the disconnection goes/It's right under your nose/It's a feeling you can't shake/It's a fever you can't break." The disconnections are everywhere and that in itself forms an intriguing bond in Senryu's music, giving us that gut full of wildfire that Wright sings about as well as a gracious bounty of hard to dismiss melodies that make the short walk to our nightmares feel like a ride at Disneyland - unassuming before the bottom drops out and shit gets strange.
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