A Mournful Sense of Calm
We've talked about vide here as well as on Instagram. We even did Nobody's first interview. So, it was an honor when Jems Label reached out and sent us a promo copy of vide's new tape "Hanging By The Bayou Light."
Listening to this album, vide's first full-length record, was much different than listening to the demos released last year. The demos gave prospective listeners a taste of what could come, even though we didn't quite know that yet. They were previews of the forthcoming culmination of all of Nobody's potential and effort.
Frankly, I listened to the demos over and over, ii being my favorite. When Jems put the compilation out on vinyl, it hit the turntable and didn't come off for a week.
But this was different.
Hanging By The Bayou Light is more unified, more concentrated in its emotion, more distilled in its focus. The first time I listened to the album, I couldn't do it again until the next day. This cold-sweat-inducing monolith of a debut conveys nothing short of cathartic sorrow and unhinged pain so clearly that any listener should be able to feel the full weight of both of those emotions. From the production to the writing, every aspect of this release drives home the feeling of ultimate despair.
The album opens with an ambient synth track appropriately titled "Wading Through the Marsh." The feeling of slogging through the swampy dusk of Louisiana, almost in slow-motion, the somber mood is draped up around the listener only to immediately be torn away with the start of the second track, "Running Toward the Dead." It's here that the anguish, the sense of cold isolation is thrust into our ears in lo-fi cacophony.
From that point, the explosion of the second track, the album never relents in a gauntlet of emotion and ambience. It weaves through interludes and set-piece moments that leave a shell of the listener in their wake.
It was a nice surprise to find "Spectre" on the album, a song vide had released for only 24-hours last year on Halloween. While it did come back due to the demand, it sits right at home within the padded walls of this full-length.
The most surprising track on the record would have to be "It Would Be the Last Time" coming in at a staggering fourteen minutes. Mostly instrumental, the way the song ebbs and flows is ominous and unsettling. Opening the track with a solo skank beat and heading into gloomy sustained tones, it holds the hand of the listener and escorts them through the mire to the hanging tree.
I would imagine suicide in the swamp by hanging would be a quiet death. At least, the final tack on the album would have me believe so. As the piano plays out the album, memories swirl around and find their way back, something long and forgotten, something only to be remembered at the end. "A Lifetime Ago" might have been the sole reason I had to ruminate on the album before I came back for a second go. The quiet is a mournful sense of calm. When all is said and done, when sadness wins, all that's left is crickets.
Hanging By The Bayou Light is available on Bandcamp now. Cassettes will go fast. Head to Jems Label to get one. Vinyl available this October.