Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
They now make soap bubbles that don't break. Didn't know if any of you knew that or not. On the front of the packaging - and these can be found in the cluttered checkout aisles of a Borders book store near you, next to the stretchy bugs and insects and Chuck-A-Chicken catapults - it claims that the liquid in these bottles is a result of a scientific breakthrough. You can touch them, so it says, but the whole spiel still seems suspect to this doubter. Should science really be needing to breakthrough in the bubble preservation department? There are grants for everything is what this tells us.
These bubbles, of glossy migrating reflections of pink, blue, lavender and moth green splotches, all improved and toughened up, stand in contrast to The Papercuts lead singer and songwriter, Jason Quever, and his tenderness. It's not really him, we're talking about, just the him that he sounds like in his songs. It's his tranquility and the lie-about nonchalance of their cadence. They have a slouch and a vulnerability that makes that sound mighty susceptible to needles, overzealous handling and touching and stiff gales of wind - all of which could be potential death. Despite this vulnerability, there is an inclination that changing this status into something more indestructible - while initially meeting the impulsive approval - would be unwanted, for taming unforeseen forces and immunizing oneself against the randomness in the way the world and its forces shake us like a dog trying to get all of the wetness out of its soaked coat of fur is a little like death itself. Some would argue that there are more advantages in living beneath a force field or within a fortress of impenetrable confidence, but they've probably never tasted the sweetness of true luck of the draw air or rebounded from the darkness of a cloud and never felt more alive, if only temporarily.
All of these implacable traits are found within the gardens of Quever's music. He is a folk singer, by definition, someone meant to cause a stir quietly. When playing before an audience, he appears uncomfortable and lost. He keeps his eyes closed as he seems to fold himself up into the various sheets of his elusive narrations. There's a subdued version of Neil Young (could be read Jason Molina, if you want to get technical) within Quever. A friendship with Cass McCombs, the coolly wry songwriter who's gone unfairly neglected by the masses, shows itself at times in the soft rumbling confessionals and personal readings of friends, acquaintances/patients.
At times, Quever seems to be saying, "No, no, this is what you look like from the outside. This is how you appear, this is what I believe you might be suffering from and I'd like to help you get through it if you don't happen to mind. I'm here for you, believe it or not." He gives a thoughtful bystander's doff of the cap to the aggrieved and the confused he's encountered and many of the same expressions could be redirected using the they're rubber he's glue method of projection. When he seems to be calming others and telling them that they don't need to change anything about who they are or when makes them happy, could it be that the remarks are also ones that he keeps close to the vest as personal, daily affirmations.
The issues of self and worth seem to pop through the tarp every so often to reveal a timid, but admirable fragility. There is no boasting or bragging, just honest questioning of one's place in the grand scheme. While Quever's at it, he likes to insist to his friends that they've already found their places - as he does to "Sandy," as the sun's in her face and the wind's at her feet. These are favorable things to have. They suggest being in the right place at the right time and, how much more opportune can one possibly be than to feel warmth and to have a tailwind pushing you along?