Recommended If You Like: Father John Misty, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, MGMT, Radiation City
Because: It’s one of the few words in the English language that can mean everything, and nothing at all. Because. It is an explanation; it is a response; it carries the weight of meaning, and of purpose. Because: It is a rhetorical question, and the ultimate answer. Now, it has a voice.
Portland, Oregon multi-instrumentalist and Radiation City bassist Randy Bemrose tackles deep concepts about existence, happiness and more in his new musical project. A distilled mix of passion, philosophy and imagination, Because plays with the ears and the mind alike, distorting the world but also giving listeners a clear, perhaps new way to understand experience. On debut track “Lock-Out Time,” Because pushes us to dig into our imaginative cores, and to seek a balance between fantasy and reality, groundedness and flight.
neither boy nor girl you were born as a bird
and you chirped every word like a song
that belonged in the wind
then you grew into your human skin and cried
thinking you’d never fly ’til you stopped even trying
Listen: “Lock-Out Time” – Because
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Lock-Out Time,” the first single and lead track off Because’s forthcoming debut album I Want To Be Your B (December 2016 via Seattle indie Plume Records). The first look at Bemrose’s new face is a spirited, technicolor journey to the center of the soul. Delightfully psychedelic layers twist and swirl in flavorful, harmony-rich brush strokes as the aural painter embarks upon a full and lush canvas.
Because is as much an experimental project as it is one rooted in the classics: Optimism and open-mindedness of The Beatles and The Beach Boys are immediately discernible in Because’s introduction. Playfully light pianos panned out of focus guide the tune as a glossy, vibrant keyboard plays a fragile lead melody. A carefully-constructed carefree nature a la MGMT’s immaculate debut is perceived, but authenticity reigns supreme in “Lock-Out Time,” from its textures to its production and beyond.
What a wonder it is to listen to a song and not know what you’re hearing. Whether it’s the curious theremin-like keyboard/synth tone at the song’s entrance, or the subtle guitar layers that litter the verse with near-indecipherable warmth, or the effected guitar-led tones that cascade down and up after the chorus, “Lock-Out Time” inspires a wide-eyed curiosity in the listener. This sensation bodes well for the song’s message.
that’s why all men dream of falling at night
to recall the feel of flying
from when you were born young as the morning sun
warm in the rising light, wild as the sky
Because’s lyrical theme derives from J.M. Barrie’s idea in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens that everyone is born as a bird and then becomes a human and forgets how to fly. Bemrose expands upon this line of thought, examining an internal struggle that would theoretically arise in all of us.
“It’s a trade off of freedom and magic for family, humanity,” explains Bemrose. “It’s along the same lines as that old chestnut: As soon as you are no longer afraid of monsters under your bed, your imagination has died.” Because’s whimsical imagery and themes of birth, discovery and magic can hopefully lead all listeners to a fruitful rediscovery of self.
Why introduce a new artistry like this? Bemrose opted for “Lock-Out Time” over another song that had similar themes, but darker undertones. “I wanted to start the record on a more overtly hopeful note, rather than cloak an honest hope in sardonic humor. A lot of this record deals in dichotomy — those that shine brightest can be ill equipped to deal with darkness, life is beautiful/life is fleeting, ain’ts/saints, greys/grace, etc.” Thus, we meet the artist on an upswing: An unforced smile nuanced by introspective thought and a positive outlook.
There’s a reason we marvel at “childlike wonder”; to truly believe that magic exists, that there is more to this world than meets the eye. That’s science, in so many a sense: The undying exploration of what is, versus what could and might be. Bemrose’s singing is soft and warm, an invitation for us to sink into his world, which could be our world too. His song is new, creative, and personal; it’s the musical equivalent of a children’s novel written for adults. Why?
that’s why all men dream of falling in love
cause flying alone is cold out in a London morn
knowing you’ll loose everybody who loved you when you were born as a bird
that’s why all men dream of flying
but that sky is impossible wearing the gold of the elders who’ll never be free
as when you were born as bird
Because. Experimentation and exploration so often lead down the most exciting, enchanting roads, and “Lock-Out Time” delivers on that impossibly possible realization of a dream. Passion is infectious, and it seeps into the heart of Because’s music. This is a solo effort of epic proportions: Randy Bemrose crafted the entire “sonic palette” of I Want To Be Your B from the ground up – the studio walls, the clever mic’ing, the custom-built gear (and hence the custom-built sounds). To take nothingness and out of it, deliver something, is an admirable feat, but Because is above and beyond that, for Bemrose has done the extraordinary in unlocking a new world of color and sound for all to bask under and in.
Yet, it is not a “new” world; it is merely a revision of the one you and I already live in. Close your eyes, then open them again! The tragedy of the familiar and “the real” is that our comfort cages our creativity. The magic of “Lock-Out” time lies in Because’s ability to expand our sense of what is “real.” Nothing’s really changed, except for your point of view. Because. A technicolor dreamscape of anchored philosophical musings await. Because. Let your dreams take flight, and learn something new.
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cover photo: Because © Shannon Wolf