October 31, 2003
Wonderwoman On The Beach


I got up at 10:30AM in the post daylight-savings-world and my first day off in 3 weeks. There was something great going on outside with kids all looking wound-up over Halloween and Fall and bored on their parent's errands hanging upside-down and throwing tantrums. There's a fresh Harper's in the magazine store and I sit down with eggs and coffee and bacon thinking how gross it is that I eat bacon and how gross bacon looks and tastes but enjoying it the same. I'm a consumer this week so I buy clothes and rent George Clooney-action, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which the Australian in Blockbuster tells me is 'great for the direction', and which I refuse to believe still, four days after having seen it.

I'm in the record store and there's Wonderwoman On The Beach just outside Couverton-- Young and Sexy's Life Through One Speaker-- parts of which Pauly played me over my crappy low low low-fi antenna must-hit-a-small-pin-point-on-a-moving-satellite motorolla cell-phone that I used to have a while back, that I have since abandoned in favour of a must-stand-outside-in-the-freezing-rain-in-order-to-get-reception Samsung that turns my ear red and gives me headaches, which I-use-hourly to communicate.

I was to write something about Life Through One Speaker after that barely audible listening, to update whatever it was I vomited out in time for the their first album. Yet I could think of nothing to say as I hadn't heard them recently playing drunk at The Sugar Refinery, hadn't heard songs emanating through my bedroom walls in well over five years, and most significantly, hadn't heard Life Through One Speaker, the album they labored over for months, through any one speaker that actually worked.

Listening to "Oh My Love," track 1 on this breathtakingly beautiful album, about having "lost the thread," "obsessing over undertones" "stumbling through the shadows", "phantoms from your mantle" about, as I see it, Vancouver, with a chorus so simple and affirmative and unsappy, shit, I know it immediately though I've never heard it before. And very quickly I'm at the point I've been afraid of since I left Couverville, where I feel.... nostalgia... for Couver... Couverton... for good old, economiless, glazed over, half-asleep, drop dead-bored Vancouver-town. Man, let me say it: How I fucking hate that place!@!!

But not the people in it. Not all of them anyway.

Local arteest Dan Bejar has said he wanted to make the Couv-town into a romantic place, simply because it seemed so impossible to him. I think somehow his dream's coming true. "Weekend Warriors", "Herculean Bellboy", "Lose Control", "In This Atmosphere", "One False Move", "Ella", "Life Through One Speaker", all these songs that leap out - the restless 'I could be doing something' frustration in the air out there, in the water out there, the muffled restlessness that is Vanc-city, that has to manifest somehow-- I'll be fucked if it doesn't do so in Paul's songs.

It's been this way for as long as I've known the guy: he articulates things in song I don't know to articulate in life. And he's upped the ante. I'd like to go on record saying how sad it is that this band is so much better than what Canadian music thinks of itself and that Canada will most likely not even know about it. It's sad that a line like "Make way for the new class war" which in its ghostly context is so very unlike Bare Naked Ladies and Tragically Hip and Nelly Fertata and Greenday, (if in fact Greenday are Canadian-- and I do believe they are), which will most likely not recieve any airplay, will not get time on the Nation's Music Station, even after MeeSoo Lee produces more shit-kickingly awesrageous idea-driven vehicles made with his eyes closed and his hands tied gently behind his back. It's sad that Gordon Lightfoot is dead yet he claims more attention than our covert new breed.

My favourite moments: from "Weekend Warriors": "You say you're on a crusade for the good life" with drums kicking in. "In This Atmosphere", as in, "How quickly we can lose ourselves...", is about being systematically deprived of what you hold yourself together with-- 'Burnaby'-- I'm most moved by the line "let this sailor in". It's simply everything to me that Paul is writing about sailors, finally! "Ella" - 'there's so many questions but you're the queen of deflections' - "Ella"-- gorgeous from start to finish; always the song I wanted to hear in our kitchen, and Paul thankfully recorded it in such a way that it sounds like that's where it was sung. (Do I feel special for having made reference to 'our' kitchen?-- yes, I do.) Oh, and the title track, where Paul addresses his humble indie-roots, has meandering keyboards that kill me.

'More than I can say' is the one I drool over the most. It's a song as beautiful as they come-- the embodiment of a moment also, that moment everyone's trying to define, in this, the post can-we-talk-frankly-about-what-reptiles-you-people-are? era. It's made me fall head-long in love with the recently married Lucy Legace, and got me wondering why I was so stupid not chasing after her hitting on her everywhere she went buying her flowers and chocolates and jewelry and trips to Europe or the Carribean or even just standing outside her window at night wimpering like a wounded puppy who'd lost his mum but oh well too late for me. Legace's voice on this song and in general kills me like only the meanest of tour-de-force would, with a boldness that's simply outstanding! Paul's, for whatever reason, tended to not write things like: 'America wraps me in her bloody armor/and do I feel safe inside I don't think so/it's the party line that's being towed,' which is so eloquently countered with 'you make me love/and that's more than I can say'-- phrases as unsentimental in their inflection as they are sincere - Jesus, Lucy, the vocals.

Young and Sexy are like Radar Brothers, Devendra Banhart, The Shins, and a couple two three other acts around the world at the moment who've mastered the art of making music that's true. I haven't arrived at this point concisely or coherently - I'd have to spend another two hours making it appear as though I had, but unfortunately I just don't have two hours. We have to dress the house tonight for Halloween. We want to get chainsaws, and children with shovels in their backs. We want severed limbs! So, it's going to take a little time.

Young & Sexy will be in Toronto in early December and if you live here and miss them it's too bad. If you do make it out, say hello. I'll be the one dressed as their ass-headed mascot in row three, and I'll look fucking awesome.

Posted by at October 31, 2003 01:47 PM

Dude, I kept my last name! Do you think I'm crazy? But thanks for the amazing write up anyway.

Posted by: lucy brain on November 4, 2003 03:16 PM .

I knew you hadn't changed your name - I mean, how could you? - it just felt funny calling you 'Legace', so I did. Great fuckin album tho; it's wicked.

Posted by: on November 4, 2003 09:15 PM .

Awww shucks.
Oh, and, I knew you were kidding about the name thing. Really.

Posted by: lucy brain on November 5, 2003 02:13 PM .
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