“Gold Dust” is a catchy uptempo folk song with some nice violin melodies as accents. It’s a catchy number with Levine’s vocals sounding once again kind of like the guy from Social Distortion singing a mellow folk song. The chorus has nice backing vocals added. “Water” is a mellow song with, again, a beautiful guitar and violin melody. The vocals have a great distinctive melody over the top.
“Blue Lips” has a kind of saloon sounding quality in its piano and a super catchy violin riff that runs through the song (and informs the vocal line). I really like the lyrics on this one: “If memory serves me well…I may forget your name but not your face…unusual face.” This song is only 3 minutes and it is over way too quickly. “Four Alarm Fire” is a slow, evolving song coming in at nearly 7 minutes. It opens with some quietly played guitar and a bass line that seems to be quiet but soon plays and interesting line that propels the song (albeit slowly).
The title song picks up the pace with a pretty guitar and piano melody. The catchiness of the chorus “this light will disappear like breath on a mirror” is a great ending to this quiet disc.
Their final album of odds and ends, Natural Life, is available to stream on bandcamp.
[READ: June 20, 2016] A Year Without Mom
This book is a graphic novel (mostly) about a year without mom. This is actually a memoir from Tolstikova about the year in her life when her mother left Moscow to study in America. Dasha was 12 years old in 1983 and her mom was an advertiser in Russia. But she didn’t like the kind of advertising she did. She had applied to a Masters program in America and was accepted. And soon enough she packed up and shipped out.
Dasha was to stay in Moscow with her grandparents.
In August she and her grandparents went to the country for a writers retreat. Other kids would be there, too. Her grandparents encouraged her to play with them but Petya, the leader is an anchor on a children’s TV show and his mother is a famous actress herself–it’s an intimidating scene.
In September she went back to school with her friends Masha and Natasha. They are a fun group of girls and they have a good tame together.
In October, we see Dasha listening to the tape that her mom left her–an opportunity for her to hear her mother’s voice. Dasha and her friends read a lot about America and decide to read Gone with the Wind. They pretend to be ladies in the 1860s. Masha and Sasha want to be named Louisa, so they compromise by having different last initials: Louisa K and Louisa T.
By December, things are dark and school is boring. It’s only art school that keeps Dasha going. But there’s a boy there, Maxim who is a total pain.
Then comes winter break–she goes with her grandparents to Germany. It’s a good trip except that she is allergic to cats and winds up in the emergency room.
When she returns to school in January, she is moved to higher math calls, which alienates her friends.
Soon they are invited to go to Petya’s school (school 67). She is excited to see him as she has a had a crush on him since the summer, but he is with a pretty girl (who smokes).
As the semester draws to an end, Dasha has survived the whole ordeal and is even looking forward to next year. She learns that Masha has been accepted into school 67 and she imagines that she and Natasha will go there too. She also realizes she loves Maxim
And then finally in June, her mom comes back. And that throws everything into turmoil. A year without mom aha given Dasha a whole new life to get used to. Can her mom really hope to fit back into her daughter’s life?
This was a fascinating story about things not going your way but making due with them anyhow. Tolstikova’s drawing style was very Russian to me–I could look at the pictures and pretty much guess she was Russian (of course the Cyrillic letters help). It’s a strangely flat, almost primitive style, but it really conveys the kind of weird, gray emotions that Dasha felt through everything.