MP3 Everything Is Fine - The Telephone Is Breathing
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9 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Emo, ROCK: Noise
July Album of the Month: Everything is Fine - The Telephone is Breathing
We've all done things we're ashamed of. Maybe it's because we were young, we were stupid, or some combination of the two. Like I remember when I first watched Hitchcock's Psycho at 3am and spent the the whole night in the closet, wondering if my mom was really my dad. It occurred to my six-year-old mind that the closet was where all the monsters lived, and I started whimpering because I knew I was completely trapped. Then my dad told me to shut up and go to sleep already, and I felt relieved for some reason.
Listening to Everything is Fine is like that. The songs develop slowly, as if walking carefully along an icy street. There is an underground current of electricity which pricks your ears to attention. Then the voice: a dull whimper, almost inaudible, occasionally rising to low growl. There's a wail of guitars, drums, electric noise . . . the hair stands on your neck and you're terrified of what's about to happen. Then the song abruptly turns melodic, pretty, almost reassuring . . . there's a lalala chorus and you're humming along as if it were a summer day. You wonder what you were so afraid of and you feel really stupid.
Everything is Fine is the brainchild of Marc Manning, a veteran of several atmospheric Philadelphia bands (his work with Legend of Boggy Creek was a murky delight). He is also a talented visual artist and photographer. One of his shows was titled "Disaster is One Step Behind You" and that pretty much sums up his musical oeuvre. You might hear traces of Galaxie 500, Papa M, Slowdive/Mojave 3, Dirty Three, and Slint's quieter moments. The songs are melancholy but not depressing, and occasionally quite beautiful. At times, the exquisite balance between fear and joy seems almost uplifting.
The Telephone is Breathing is EIF's third solo release, following an untitled six-song demo and the full-length Bullets Like Rain/Lights Like Fans. On this effort Manning is joined by the rhythm section of Philly's own Friends of the Library, and the result is a much more accessable recording. The sound is rich, brimming with weird noises and straightshot playing, and when the band kicks into high gear like on "Holy Water" or the abrasive "Something Ugly in the Winter Time," it's hard not to bob your head silently.
The final track "Tooth" is, in many ways, emblematic of EIF's vision. Behind a field recording of static and voice, Manning almost chants on top of Bill Moriarty and Geoff Matis' sympathetic backing. You wonder what sort of disaster awaits this time, and feel almost relieved that whatever it is, it's behind you now
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