Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rekindling My Words: Kingfishers Catch Fire

I'm in one of those exhausted, used-up moods. With a bit of writer's block thrown in for grim measure. Blogs are a lot more work than I anticipated - I truly admire those who manage to blog everyday and yet have something substantial and interesting to say. I'm having one of those weeks where I just want to curl up with old music because all the newer stuff isn't inspiring me at all. I'm also still in the middle of cutting my 100-page thesis down into a 12-page paper to present at a conference next week. So I'm caught between a writer's block and a difficult headspace.

Despite my frantic scrabbling through some of the promotional emails I received in the past couple weeks to see if I could find something to write about, I came up empty-handed. However, through the serendipity of MySpace, I did manage to find a band that cleansed my brain of some of its cobwebs with its romantic, pastoral music. London duo, Kingfishers Catch Fire, which features William Robertson and Lucinda Godwin (not to be confused with the Australian band of the same name) is named for a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and captures my imagination in the way any sort of decadent/romantic literature does. While their music may just be for the sake of a creative outlet without any intention of selling it to anyone (it's too early to tell and there's something distinctly personal about it - as though you've stumbled across some poet's secret hideaway), I would definitely purchase it if it were ever for sale.

As stated in their MySpace profile, the songs are personal, presented with the fragility of a candied violet. Lily on the Grass begins with an acoustic guitar and a strain of violin that capture the simultaneous exhilaration and temporality of a beautiful moment: "But I can't help but sing/Foreboding notwithstanding/Lily on the grass, I'm delighted." It is the ephemeral nature of these sublime moments that makes them so perfect in the first place, and this song gently breathes that sentiment like sun-warmed grass. Thérèse has a darker undercurrent to it as the vocal swings between bittersweet melancholy and howling passion and electric guitars buzz in the background. Namechecking Rudolf Arnheim, the German art theorist/perceptual psychologist, Between Light and Dark sounds like a ramble over a forest floor blanketed with leaves in dappled autumn sunlight while the song actually entitled Autumn is delicate as lacework and fills my nostrils with the smoky, crisp scent of fall. The poetry of the lyrics in Autumn transports you back to a time when poetry was unabashed and ornamental and when language was wielded skillfully: "Boy wonder, torn asunder;/Blind mirror of a mercurial Nature./Sunrise 'phemeral world alive in amber/With a redwing in flight from the shade of a bower." Kingfishers Catch Fire's music makes me feel a Victorian picnic by a bubbling brook. A decadent garden party at a manor house. A place where Bright Young Things can congregate in the last hedonistic summer of their youth, where simply looking divine gives you immortality. Somewhere where people love and feel too deeply to survive very long.

It's nice to know that when I'm at a loss for words, music can gently coax them back.

Kingfishers Catch Fire's MySpace: