Premiere: Mountains Like Wax Wrestle with the Gray Areas in “(a) Rest”

Mountains Like Wax © Nolan Knight
Mountains Like Wax © Nolan Knight

Maybe it’s the June gloom (or the seemingly-impending doom that accompanies turning on the news in America today), but there’s something in the air that begs for contemplation lately. For taking the time and trying to process what in the world is actually going on, on a personal and global level.

Mountains Like Wax’s new single “(a) Rest” couldn’t have come at a better time. Acting as a “shout for those searching between the gray to clarify what’s black and white or what should be,” “(a) Rest,” which Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering today, deals with making room for clarity in a time of chaos.

Listen: “(a) Rest” – Mountains Like Wax
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The intro’s gently-beckoning guitar serves to invite listeners into a space of reflection. There’s something calming about how the instrumentals grow before ever being met by a voice. And when the vocals do begin, they’re unhurried. From the song’s inception, Mountains Like Wax invite us to pause, to make room for really listening rather than just hearing.

(a) Rest - Mountains Like Wax
(a) Rest – Mountains Like Wax

In the song’s sense of pause-and-reflection, Mountains Like Wax give us a glimpse of “rest” in all its forms — actively choosing to stop, whether that’s giving up a failing relationship or just lying down, phone off, after a day of living. Throughout the song, there’s an implication that the “unsteady” world as we know it is loud with hurry and that rest is considered an afterthought rather than a necessary step. Like a college student would forego sleep to study, so most of us would keep tirelessly working at something we know is already lost rather than give it up–even when it’s kind of obvious that it’d be better for our health to just give it a rest.

“(a) Rest” takes the opposite angle. Instead of a desperate love song that tries in vain to bring someone back, Mountains Like Wax calls us to different action. As the band says of the song, it’s an act of clearing your head and making room for reflection before adding your own voice to the fever pitch that often accompanies hard moments.

Why don’t you give it a rest
Some things are better left unsaid
Now I’ve got nothing left

It’s a radically different approach to the subject, and one that’s inviting in that addresses all the grey areas. One that says it’s okay to not know the next step, to want to be alone (“just leave”) and encourages you to struggle with figuring out the absolutes.

In a world full of instant and immediate gratification, the search for silence and contemplation often seems like an indulgence. But what if it was a knee-jerk reaction? There’d perhaps be less angry comments, and more attempts at understanding and rationally ending what doesn’t work.

Either way, “(a) Rest” invites us to be okay with pausing and in the gray for awhile, but always actively wrestling with it despite how uncomfortable that process may be or how exhausted it may make you. Because after all, that’s where growth seems to happen.

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(a) Rest - Mountains Like Wax

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cover © Nolan Knight
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