Once You Know – Voices
The bands that manage to maintain consistent success, yet look as if they are having the worst time while they are doing it, are destined for rock immortality. On the other hand, the ones honest about their intentions, looking to bend backwards to have people like them, find it very hard to draw a public on their side.
Maybe it’s something ingrained in the nature of rock music, a voice rebellion, one sounded out by people that don’t appear much concerned with others’ expectations of them. Radiohead is one of the rare prog-rock groups that have fought their own success every step of the way and, because of this, appear as visionaries to crowds of indie-rock loving audiences.
There’s something special about Radiohead’s sound. It appears to be beamed out of a basement where people have taken tenancy and playing for weeks on end. Once You Know’s Voices sound like a single made in similar circumstances. The dense instrumentation is punctuated by a beautiful, soft tenor tone, not unlike that of Thom Yorke. It’s music that sounds both intimate and grandiose.
Wandering With – Countryside
Popular music has found a special kind of vocabulary for describing tragedies. It’s particularly difficult to talk about a disaster using merely stats, figures, or telling the story of what led to it.
For those who have had the misfortune of having part of such an event, it is the immediate aftermath that is, usually, the most poignant. Songs like Riders on the storm or Crash on the highway look to create the mood of confusion and terror. It’s almost like taking an ectoplasm of the place and finding room for it in song.
Wandering With’s Countryside is able to produce this with considerable grace. It’s as if watching someone looking to steady their breathing after a terrifying event. The nearly recited lyrics complete with Mark Lanegan-like vocals are a powerful tool in achieving this. The song’s crescendo is expressed lyrically rather than in musical terms as the dream slowly fades away only, one would imagine, to appear once again ad infinitum.