reflection

REFLECTION: Lace Curtains – The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness

Lace Curtains, one of the most underrated (for lack of a better word) artists of the past few years, released an album in JULY of 2012. JULY.

What the fuck has everyone been doing with their lives since then?

(Is Lace Curtains dead? The band, or project led by Michael Coomer of Harlem, hasn’t released anything new, although has mentioned (to me, through Twitter, can’t find, but it happened) new music is in the works.)

(also, that parenthetical statement inside of another bothers me as much as it does you – ANYWAY.)

Take a trip down this album’s winding road and you’ll lose yourself in it. From the immediate Velvet Underground reference in the first two words, to the absolute hilarious line in “Cleopatra” – fuck gravity, it’s keeping me down – to the jangly end of “Collyer’s Mansion”, it’s all whirlwind, heat, and flash, as someone put it. Jangly, catchy tunes of sharp guitar lines led by unforgettable lyrics are the surface characteristics of EVERY song on this album. Coomer takes all kinds of chiming melodies and impactful words and slathers an entire album in it, marinating it in influences like the aforementioned Velvets.

Album opener “High Fantasy” lullabyes you into a lull of happiness from the first note, transcending you into the song’s delicate opening – until the song wakes up from its own dream and pounds into a faster rhythm. You’ll notice right away that Coomer doesn’t sing so much as talk in a tone that matches the music behind, which is perfect, because The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness does the best job of telling stories about love, Egyptian queens, and life. Every song does what “High Fantasy” does – illustrates the scene to a point that’s relatable to every person that’s listening.

Now, like the Velvets (mentioned twice before now), Coomer takes one or two chords (but never three) and transposes throughout, usually in a downstroked, beating rhythm that locks itself and throws the key away, especially on highlight “Cleopatra.” By the time the guitar starts flopping around like a dead fish at the end, you’d think this was a VU single.

Not a throw-away, this songs simply too damn good to be thrown away, even by Lou Reed. Lou Reed would want this song on an album.

But this comparison comes with no real pros or cons,  because even if Coomer sounds like the legends, he doesn’t dig too far into details and simply does what all kinds of musicians do. They like a band, they play music, they sound like them. Boo-hoo. If you think an album that sounds like the Velvets is a bad thing, then.. well.. there’s the door. Because this album, OF ALL THE ALBUMS, is something really special.

Not a song shorter than 3:00 and not a song longer than 4:34, this album is a collection of tunes that blindingly beat down barriers and reaches you in your gullet (or heart, whatever, it hits). It’s hard to find albums like this that maintain such a great feeling throughout, even if the album does get depressing. It slaps you in the face and hugs you afterward. The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness is a pure gem, a not-miss album many missed. Well, I’m trying to change that. 9/10.

Tracks to Hear: High Fantasy, Bedroom Honesty, Police Brutality, Cleopatra

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