While You Were Gone, Winter/Summer

While You Were Gone, Winter/Summer

One of the absolute best things about music, good music, is the connected-ness of it. If a band’s doing its job right, you’re able to grasp onto the feelings, the emotions behind the yelled/sung lyrics and roaring guitars; if there’s no connection going on, the guitars and yelling are just that, but if the song sucks you in and makes you feel like you’ve been exactly where the singer is — or, at least, that you can imagine that place, whether or not you’ve been there yourself in real life — then hell, you’re golden.

On top of everything else going on, that emotional connection is what makes While You Were Gone’s newest EP, Winter/Summer, work so incredibly well. It would be ridiculously easy for somebody other than Misty Moore (formerly Gray) to sing the lyrics she’s written and come off seeming trite and cheesy; I mean, honestly, lyrics about love and heartache just kind of veer that way all by themselves, without much help.

Honestly, it’s hard not to sound cheeseball when you’re singing lyrics like, “Now I know exactly / what love is / Feeling so alive / on a winter night” (from the title track). And yet While You Were Gone pull it off, crafting these insanely, unashamedly earnest songs about love and trust and loss and all the rest. It’s immediately clear that Moore and her bandmates (which include guitarist/husband Anthony Moore) really, truly do mean every word they sing, every note they play. And as sincerity’s pretty key to songs like this, that makes it all, well, close to perfect.

Of course, it helps that the music’s pretty compelling; to start with, opener “Your Heart Can Hold The Weight Of Two” simmers beautifully, bridging the gap between classic female-fronted emo bands like Pohgoh and more baroque, orchestrated stuff like Eisley (albeit with vocals that make me think of Nina Gordon from Veruca Salt). I love the desperate, pleading vocals and the woozy-sounding record scratches (I think?) layered in the background, not to mention the roaring, loud-but-not-too-loud guitars.

“See You Next Summer” hits similar territory, a bitter, prettily caustic warning of a song with thundering, anthemic, Explosions In The Sky-ish guitars that just beg to be cranked up to ear-splitting volume (and still sound good that loud, which is nice). “Winter/Summer” is quieter and more low-key, with nice piano backing and great, gently-fuzzed walls of guitars rising up out of the snow, and “We Were So Young” is on the quiet side, too, at least near the start.

The latter track, by the by, is probably my personal highlight of the songs on here — it’s the story of a romance in total, from the beginning to The Big Day, covering all the uncertain ground and learning in-between with a sense of contented wonderment, and there’s an awesome confidence to it, to boot, with Moore offering, “We were so young / but we knew what we wanted.”

And then, there’s the break. When the question’s popped, the drums come pounding in, and the whole damn track lifts into the stratosphere. Best. Damn. Emo-rock. Crescendo. Ever. No lie. I could listen to that one bit over and over and over again and still have to pick my face up off the floor; it’s amazing, and it makes my sappy, romantic ass tear up each time.

This is the sound of love between two people who’ve been waiting to see what would happen after the curtain fell on childhood and they moved on into adult life. And it’s heartbreakingly beautiful for that.

(self-released; While You Were Gone -- http://www.myspace.com/whileyouweregone)

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, January 5th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “While You Were Gone, Winter/Summer

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » The “W”s Break Up: Weird Party & While You Were Gone Both Wave Goodbye on February 16th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    […] “We Were So Young” and “Your Heart Can Hold The Weight Of Two” (see here for more on that), and had been seriously looking forward to the promised […]

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