Wrekmeister Harmonies - The Alone Rush (Thrill Jockey) 2018
Be it for the long gray hairs that compose JR Robinson’s beard, or a certain sense of serenity that always manages to resonate through his music, Wrekmeister Harmonies is one of those entities that just seems to be a very old one. Not old as in dated, but as in experienced, and somehow reconciled with this twisted world of ours.
Though their music has paid visits to some of the ugliest and vilest chapters in human history, there always seems to be a tiny leak of light shining through at the end of a Wrekmeister album. And if the man who crafted the masterpiece that inspired this band’s name doesn’t consider himself a pessimist, I’d assume the man behind the band is, arguably, one to share the same stance.
The Alone Rush addresses one of the most visited themes in all literature: death. While the most certain thing there is, it always hits us hard — even when expected, arriving at the late stages of the long life of a loved one. But when it is sudden, cruel, and when it comes way too soon, oh boy…
There seems to be a little bit of a Jim Morrison character to JR Robinson. Not the “Look at me, I’m the Lizard King” Jim Morrison, but the introspective, meditative poet whose mind seems to drift into far, far away, while, in the faded background, all we mortals just watch the ball game. Like a maestro, accompanied by his trustworthy right-arm (Ester), he wonders through the muddy waters of life, death and freedom (freedom from regret, from fear, from existential terror, and from all the shit one just cannot control). And he grips onto it. He beats the shit out of it and comes up with another Wrekmeister Harmonies album. This time, one that is his most frank and sonically stripped down, while, perhaps, his lyrically deepest.
Maybe this music deserved a more descriptive review, but that would have to be the work of a writer, perhaps a poet — and I, for sure, am not anywhere close to either of those.
Having recently been to a Ben Chasny concert, the words “The belief in life is a belief in love” come to my mind as I listen to the last couple of Wrekmeister albums. Maybe I’m just full of shit, maybe I’m about right — the world doesn’t give a flying monkey’s ass. Just listen to the record.