|Look at her...no, don't look at her...|
For today's song...shoegaze is alive and well, at least until recently.
And I'm glad for it. I was one of those people who bought into the whole shoegaze/dream pop thing during that weird period in the 90's where anything and everything could claw its way onto the Billboard Top 100. I came through my admiration of the form legitimately, after renting out a VHS (Remember VHS? Big, boxy thing with a black tape in it that showed you pretty pictures on your television?) showcasing three bands from Creation Records. Since Ride and My Bloody Valentine were two of those bands, I was willing to look into this further. That led to a brief and intense music crush on Miki Berenyi of Lush (culminating in a rather strange interview I conducted that seemed more about how much Miki loved horror movies and wanted me to recommend some she might not have seen in the attic/dressing room of the old Continental night club here in New York, but that's another story for another time...I seem to have this propensity for getting into these situations with my musical crushes), which of course morphed into a love of Britpop when that band decided to follow that path....but I don't think I ever lost my love of this sort of stuff. This is the music of whimsey and woolgathering, a music that allows you to drift without losing you; it's always holding your hand, keeping you safe while maintaining your general sense of sleepy well-being. This is the music for the misunderstood artistic type in all of us.
I first came across Trespassers William when I heard a cover they did of the Suzanne Vega/Joe Jackson collaboration 'Left of Center'--although, truth be told, I probably heard them once or twice before, as they were a darling of the WB for a while. And I can see why shows such as Buffy and One Tree Hill loved them. Like previously discussed WB soundtrack princess Rachel Yamagata, Matt Brown and Anna-Lynne Williams have that certain ethereal quality, coupled with Williams' breathy vocals, that are perfect for scenes of this season's Pretty White Girl to angst on in her Pretty White Girl Bedroom.
This is actually pretty straightforward. It's a song about our P.O.V. character missing her loved one, and regretting not saying things to him when they were face to face (her not wanting her voice 'to go out over the air'). I get the impression that the separation is both rather vast, and rather recent...that maybe he 'left the darkness' just the night before to leave her alone. There's the implication that there's something holding her back from joining him wherever he's gone--the lyrics seem to indicate a fear of flying, but it can also be interpreted given some of the references elsewhere that it's a more personal fear--a fear of intimacy, of getting close to her object of desire. What does make the song different is, of course, the melody, which is waltz-like, languid, sensual without being sexual (you know, like a WB soap opera), dancing around the listener without touching him, preferring instead to just smile wanly at him in chilly enticement.
Trespassers William disbanded last year, leaving us a two-disc B-Sides-and-Rarities collection called Cast as their parting gift for us. You can find both this song and that cover of 'Left Of Center' there. Both Williams and Brown continue to pursue music, Williams as part of the duo Ormonde and Brown as a performer and producer for several groups.
There's no video for either of the songs I cited above--but here's one for another cover from the band...a cover of everyone's favorite Movie Executive from my podcast Better In The Dark....