Snailhouse Lies On the Prize

I have a secret: I’m not much of a lyrics man. It’s the music that comes first. Lyrics must always take a backseat, or they must be shaped and formed by the underlying music. The other way around, like beat poetry or overt sing-speaking, just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Yet rules are made to be broken and I find that sometimes the music and lyrics go so well together they strike a perfect balance and strengthen each other. Of course, this is the case with Michael Feuerstack’s latest effort as, inexplicably, I find myself drawn to his clever wordplay intermingled with earnest feeling. The lyrics on their own are lovely but they attain sublime status due to how the music envelops and caresses them, framing them perfectly. On "Fire Alarm,” the lyric "Don’t be afraid/You’ve got your youth, though that will fade/Does it keep us safe from harm if the kettle whistles along with the fire alarm?” is melancholy enough but add in the weeping strings, the plaintive guitar and Feuerstack’s pining voice and you’ve got perfection. Forget lies, the hidden truth makes this music the real winner. (Unfamiliar)