Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
The other day I got carried away writing about autumn and it seems that I did so prematurely, though that might be a foolish thing to say, for it implies that there's a certain allotment of energy that can be spent thinking about the nuances of what's believed to be - at least - everyone's second favorite season, if not the favorite. As I sit down for a prolonged listen to the four songs that The Wilderness of Manitoba recorded here - all of which are from the group's debut full-length - everything feels wrong. Everything I wrote yesterday was wasted - all those things I said about hot chocolate and apple cider, the crunching of leaves and all that other junk. It was all nice at the time, but you know who would have really appreciated it - The Wilderness of Manitoba. My goodness would they have had a great time reading about the colors of rich, fall foliage, and they could have just pictured themselves jumping into and throwing around piles of pretty leaves. It's not as if there's not more to say, but it feels like cheating a little bit. It's hard to pretend that the band from Toronto aren't reading and thinking, "That should be our essay." The band - made up of Scott Bouwmeester, Will Whitwham, Stefan Banjevic, Sean Lancaric and Melissa Dalton - is likely picky about the spiciness of their ciders. They likely have boxes and boxes of stocking hats, scarves and mittens, counting down the minutes through the year until they're finally able to break them all out again. They cannot wait to let the wood smoke seep into them nestle into the fibers like wiry mice, nesting in for the winter. The music on "When You Left The Fire," is he soundtrack for one of those nights that comes along near the middle to late parts of October, when all of the trees are at their peak hues, the crops are getting dustily collected and the temperatures take major plummets, like the flip of a switch, when the sun ducks down over the horizon. As soon as the sky goes dark, that pristine and beautiful autumn chill rolls across the land with impunity. We throw on the hoodies, zip our coats, shiver some if we've forgotten and feel ourselves start to turn into the homebodies and hibernators that we become when we get snowed in and everything slows down to a crawl for a few months. These are the preparations being made, the warnings that the days like this are dwindling and soon enough we're all going to be out of luck. We're going to dread the true cold. We're going to fantasize about the way the air used to feel and we're going to gather heat any way we can think of. It seems that the words of The Wilderness of Manitoba invoke these thoughts as well. There's a ticking clock associated with their rustic folk rumblings, a hint at something that amounts to temporary death. It's coming. We know it's coming and yet we're allowed to mourn it all the same. It's the dead leaves sure, but it's the deadened us that hits the hardest. We wait around for a year, just so we can do it all again.