Released in October, New York-based Crying’s album Beyond The Fleeting Gales (10/14/2016 via Run for Cover Records) slaps growing up in the face — but probably not too hard, and probably followed by an apology. Nestled near the back end of the album comes one of the most joyous tracks of the year in “There Was a Door.” Appropriately shared with the world on National Coming Out Day, “There Was a Door” is nearly ungenrefiable, featuring a self-dubbed “fire” verse from guest rapper Laetitia Tamko (of Vagabon) and mixing distorted guitars with chiptune-esque synths. Add the trippy rhythms and goofy record scratches and you will find yourself feeling the joy you used to feel when you first watched Disney Channel movies, without the weird nostalgic revisiting feelings you get nowadays.
Crying play one step ahead of the game, which is why they are such a joy to follow. But because of their use of a programmed Gameboy for their first two EPs, they seemed easy to pin down as a sort of retro-emo-gamer group of young people. Their name, too, generally elicits a laugh or a groan when first heard. But the mistake is to make assumptions. And to underestimate the intelligence and honesty that lurks behind the walls of complex sound that Crying like to push to the forefront of their tracks.
Listen: “There Was a Door” – Crying
The nuance of Crying’s music may be showcased best in a track like “There Was a Door.” It opens jauntily, swinging along until the vocals come in, distorted and muttered. In fact, a key evidence of Crying’s nuance may be that they are really, really funny. Funny in the sense that they seem to have found such a refreshing place to inhabit that their work genuinely presents counter cultural ideas without really trying to “make a statement.” They knew “There Was a Door” was about coming out and surely released it purposely on the day that they did, but it’s also very easy to listen to the song and have no idea that it is about coming out at all. On the other hand, the triumph and goofiness that a first listen probably does gather pushes the self-confidence and joy that comes from someone who feels free to be who they are. Like the greats, they are working on multiple levels here–so much so that it’s easy to envision a day where a confused conservative candidate would try to pump up his crowd using a similar track about coming out because it puts an audience in a nice mood. That being said, if Crying ever became that big, we probably wouldn’t be living in the same reality. I digress…
When you do listen through “There Was a Door” several times, falling deeper and deeper into its trance, a wise next step would be to examine the lyrics where they were actually posted by the band, which is on their Bandcamp. Here, you see the nuance of the lyrics, the brackets, the spacing, the poetry of it all. The writing works so well because it matches the approach to the musicality. Tamko presents her lyrics in a calculated manner, precision mixed with a casual voice. Scientific step-by-steps estranged by repetition.
1. I just keep coming out to myself
2. I just keep coming out to myself
it just keeps coming
The tone establishes Tamko as an intelligent writer, well-aware of the rules of grammar and formatting, but instead deciding to break those rules and open the door for pluralistic approaches to something that seemed so established. And her lyrical move works yet again in opening up the conversation on sexual orientation and the complications it seems to create for people.
“There Was a Door” works as shredder of the year, it works as lyrics of the year, and it works as “I don’t care about music journalism, I just love this song.” Crying aren’t sad boys and girls — they’re jamming out and loving the people around them, showing their progressive metal influences on their sleeves, while working to open up the genre as a whole at the same time. Essentially, Crying aren’t crying, but they are Crying. Bands never like genre tags and neither do people. So don’t try to pin them down, just listen to their music –and enjoy the effects.
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cover: Crying © Adam Kolodny