SOTD #741 – Oh Well, Goodbye
Dread comes in many forms. However, I’d say they all fall into two classes – the real and the beckoned. The former emerges from factors beyond or barely within our control: the upcoming election for us Americans, the first day of school for the new kid in the neighborhood, a daunting workload for the stressed college student (stress = dread in the present tense). The outcomes are uncertain, and disastrous consequences could tumble upon us like an avalanche.
Beckoned dread, however, is another beast entirely. Scholars call it the “sublime” – when we remove ourselves from the agony, the distance lends beauty, excitement, perhaps even lust. So we seek it – in movies, in books, and certainly in music.
That impetus – to beckon dread, to evoke the sublime – may be why post-punk kept crawling (and still crawls) to the black. As I write this spiel, I remind myself of Opposition, one of those dark cubby holes from the early 80s that reeled me in back in college – and it’s THAT bass tone, innit, that casts the shadow. That and the “suffering”, the “pain”, the “blood”. Suckers like me still get a kick out of resisting happiness and sunny pleasure – and other obscure folk, from Crispy Ambulance to Lowlife to Lung Overcoat, can draw me to that gorgeous abyss.
Oh Well, Goodbye use THAT bass tone, too – but the dynamics of dread change. With folk like Opposition, the listener longs only to wallow, to absorb the “pain” and “suffering” while inert. With “This City To Yours”, the listener longs to long, if you catch my drift. Desire becomes tangled with agony. How exactly this happens, I can’t quite explain; perhaps it’s the slight grungy taint in the spidery guitars, the brisk pace, the bounce in the lugubrious bass, the resigned failure in the singer’s voice. Then again, in my experience, desire is ALWAYS tangled with agony, so perhaps that’s just me projecting.
I’m aware that these guys are capitalizing on the sublime – hence the EP’s title, Swoon – but I’m falling for it anyway. After all, what glamor is there in the mundane, now that our dreams have caved in and we have not hit rock bottom, but dead average? I say, make me cry for someone I’ll never meet. Make me moan for a limb I have not lost. Make me feel again.
Oh Well, Goodbye’s upcoming EP, Swoon, will be out on Bleeding Gold Records on September 16th. You can’t pre-order it yet, but when you can, you’ll prolly do it here.