Review: Be My Friend In Exile – Bound By An Endless Desire To Wander Down Avenues Of Apathy

Be My Friend in Exile - Bound by an Endless Desire to Wander Down Avenues of Apathy - coverThis record is like a scarf wrapped round my head. The fabric muffles the clarity of the world outside. My mind clogs with claustrophobic heat, while my surroundings become a smog of objects and voices: the dulled winds of pedestrian underpasses at night, incoherent announcements over train station tannoy, guitars strummed with lethargic disinterest. In the context of the track titles (and the name of the record itself), the smog becomes a partition between me and the reality I inhabit; a tranquiliser which drains colour and shape until I find myself wading through a blur of monochromatic decay, with pianos and synths reduced to slurry and harmonic rubble. I write this only hours after the announcement that the UK government has approved airstrikes in Syria. Could the severity of such a decision penetrate the winds, static and obfuscating echo of Be My Friend In Exile? Does anything matter within this cocoon of apathy and sensory sedation?

Occasionally, melodies stagger into view. Like a streetlamp in the fog, I witness their beautiful harmonic illuminations rather than their source, rippling through a veil of chorus and delay. Yet even the strums of “Always A Wonder You Lull With Goodbyes” seem to blissfully circumvent the truth, full of open strings that curb the intensity of message, just how the harmonic drawl of shoegaze can numb the sentiments of loss and regret. Essentially, I am protected from that which could harm me. Bound By An Endless Desire… is a deliberately disorderly space to inhabit. Messages of urgency and pain are crushed into a dust of minor key, eroded tape and weeping nickel strings, which thickens in my eyes and ears until they become impotent. In so many ways, this record keeps me in the dark.