Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
"Battles of Man," a song by Providence, Rhode Island songwriter Brendan Glasson is a document that goes down the row of battles that have been waged by man. There are those against machines and there are those against beast. Glasson would likely agree with you if you were to say that the greatest number of battles that man has to deal with are with himself and, of course, woman is man, so that should get everyone nodding in unanimous support of the point. He sings, In the battle of man against the cold/I was able to grow old/But oh, you know, death is bold/For though I survived as I have told/I found myself with none to hold." He shows, in this small instant that the battles of man versus nature can take on grand complexities, here inviting into the frame the problem of nature taking away those others of mankind that we work so hard to bring into our lives. They're the easiest ones to get rid of and they're the quickest to flee in the face of adversity, or die off in the cold, without the proper protection from the elements.
"Shrinking Coasts" is another song where we see man getting the best of himself again. It's likely just a sense of need, of completion to chronicle, or acknowledge, the battles that man has against machines and all the etceteras, but they'll always pale in comparison to all of the trials and problems he will find a way of putting himself through.
It's as if the wind storm of apocalyptic gales that smokes through the middle of "Battles of Man" is present in many of the pieces that Glasson makes, for even in the solitude or reflectivity of "Shrinking Coasts," we're sure that we can hear the seams popping loose or the wings coming off the plane. There's always a little sabotage involved - something that's no one's fault but one's own and Glasson strikes on it, singing, "I broke one stick from the tree/I threw it to the sea/Ava Maria/Somehow I convinced myself that it was you who didn't love me," continuing toward the end of the song, "And I came upon a land of ice and snow/Where I thought I would let go of it/But, oh, you know/I may not be an idiot/But with some things I am so slow." The battles are going to keep flowing, attracted as they are to the cold, empty arms of man as if they were magnetic.