Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
This is when we've stretched out the furthest that our bodies can stretch out, throwing our arms over our heads and trying to touch the house next door with our toes at the other end and then let the muscles and the ligaments retract back to their resting positions, fulfilled. This is where that flush of effort takes us, into a peaceful netting of comfort, where the mind is available to flutter and get red hot or blue cold if it wants to. It all depends on where it's intending to take us. It comes in a state that has brushed everything else aside and all that's going to get through is a strong voice - internal or external - and perhaps one other sound, a wooden guitar maybe. And these two sounds, coming together in a holy unity of now-that-we've-got-your-attention-let-us-happily-bum-you-out and a simple torpor that allows fixations to occur upon all that should set off the panic attacks and hallucinations of a clinically sane person. For the instances and the hypotheticals that Tiny Vipers' Jesy Fortino wraps her head around frequently are those that, once they're in, they're in for good. These are fundamental worries about losing people to causes as natural and as unnatural as death and as predictable and unpredictable as a growing disinterest or no good reason whatsoever. It seems like the no good reason whatsoevers tend to win out, or at least make themselves most visible and audible. It's this that leads Fortino to write her stark and brooding, haunting and hurting songs in a fashion that makes them feel as if they are the suicide notes of ghost towns, the last remaining reasons why, the process of disruption and its sentence. These are such clashing times, like weather systems meeting somewhere in the Midwest to either cause a tornado and a mess or build it up and build it up only to have the dark skies sputter out and throw down a few drops or two, a few clusters of hail, nothing too serious. It all felt serious enough when it was in the building stages though and that alone got everyone listening, watching the pissed off horizons scatter into the storm cellars and ducking into the basements for cover. Fortino builds these dilemmas up and into such memorably sad snapshots. The songs are populated by those who are just shadows and remnants of a scent and a feeling and they're polluted with the bitter aftertaste of something that went awry that was never suspected to go awry. It's a fiery disappointment that singes Fortino skin and her clothing and remains constantly at the ground, at her feet, teasing her shoes with extinction. She always sounds to be crumbled, to be broken up completely, but there's still no sense that she's thrown in the towel or run the white flag up the pole. It's as if she realizes that this is par for the course, but still gets distracted by the frequency of these slights. She gets battered by these things, singing on "Time Takes," "Do you agree that you still might find your heart?/So why are you drifting away from us?/Was the spirit that takes the mind away from us/A dream that kept you from sleeping through the night/And am I crazy for feeling like I do/Into the ease, I bury my face." She buries her face into the ease nightly and it's so easy. It doesn't sting there so much, but there's nothing wrong with a little sting now and then - that unpredictable, unfavorable sting that steams and leaves us be in no time it seems.
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