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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Colleen
Everyone Alive Wants Answers
Leaf Label

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
When Mind Science of the Mind posed the perennially odd question, "Does it Rain in Your Womb?", it was as though they had Colleen in mind. Though it seems eternally gray in her world, it is an inviting, comforting place to cling to. Everyone Alive Wants Answers is an impeccably named dissertation on the sorrows that have become all too ordinary. On a musical level, it is a newly classic work of ambient brilliance, but on a broader level, it is a simply moving, tragic litany. It is a slideshow of scenes, each more heartbreakingly familiar than the last.

Please allow me to narrate this private tour. As the atmospheric, wordless tracks trudge through somber, listless lines, there is an underlying understanding of the emotions poured into each track. The images you may see on your personal excursion may differ, but I assure you, the feelings are the same:

The title track brings us to a Spanish laguna where sketchy dealings are on their way. There is beautiful scenery, tainted but gorgeous water, and nothing is exactly as it seems. The exterior is breath taking; the truth, disheartening.

"Ritournelle" finds us deeper overseas, with a clear and perfect view of a mafia social gathering. There is pristine and practiced dancing, cheek to cheek. The mood is polite but heightened, as danger is in the air.

"Carry-cot" is a melancholy serenade on the steps of a great building. It is romantic with a beautiful ambiance, enhanced by the innocence of her chosen sampling: a child in rambling explanation. The world has not yet crushed the youth of "Carry-cot", but as a reflection, it feels so far from the currently cynical, hardened lifestyle.

As the tracks carry on, we see that perfection is itself a theme, with exterior perfection often tainted, and personal flawlessness never attainable, despite the most valiant efforts. The damaged lifestyle, and the fear that comes from unexpected circumstance, drives these players to a helplessness they cannot accept. The inability to achieve perfection amounts in the greatest depressive aspect of the album, in that our characters always want the best, and are continually met with the worst.

Case in point, "Your Heart is on Your Sleeve". The static of a broken radio carries throughout, with the signal maddeningly lost. There is persistence in trying, over and over, with hope repeatedly turning into distress. The nostalgia of cherished memories and long-distanced loved ones buoys the track temporarily until the realization of permanent detachment sets in.

As true fear is captured, it is both inevitable and predictable. "Good Bye Sunshine" is a cellar door flapping in the stiff wind, with fear battering a flickering candle, and the vulnerability of a gossamer robe. "One Night, and It's Gone" recalls a bell tolling at a murder/suicide scene, disturbing but all too ordinary. "Long Live Mice in the Metro" embodies the boredom of a homemaker, depressed at a brightly lit, immaculate bakery, sighing in long, fatal measures as time lifelessly goes by.

The scenes often alternate between the expectant and the unknowing: "I Was Deep in a Dream but Didn't Know It" offers the tense, clammy palms of a hospital waiting room, buried in thoughts of the worst. Conversely, "Babies" depicts a child finding a body in his backyard, realizing the horror of his discovery, but not fully understanding it.

Echoes of rusting calliopes, new age, empty white noise, perfectly depressing ballets, and dutiful marches to terminal wars close the album. There are no words to make these images certain, yet the power behind Colleen's painful, ambient works makes all reactions clear: There is an inevitability and a divergence from the ideal that forces life, even at its most dramatic, to seem pale and hollow in comparison to expectations. Everyone Alive Wants Answers, indeed, but they want it all to work out eventually. Colleen shows that the answers they receive are often what drive them to horrifying infamy.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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