Monday, July 30, 2007
Open the Book to Page France
For at least the last eight months I have been hearing the band's name being thrown around or praised a number of times and I finally took some initiative and sought out some of their music. Although Page France have just released an album titled "... And the Human Telephone", their 2005 release "Hello, Dear Wind" is the one I chose to listen to. Or did it choose me? Either way, to my pleasant surprise, I was instantly keen on their melodies made for humming and lyrics which caught my ears with sonic fishing hooks. Each song floats along, sometimes sleepily, other times merrily, with the vocalist (and "brain child") Michael Nau's smooth and earnest lullabies (akin to Ben Gibbard) backed by an acoustic guitar and various added elements and instruments that can't help but work so well together. There's a somber yet joyful air to the music of Page France. This inability to settle feels appropriate for the over riding theme of religion and the main man upstairs J.C. "Jesus" even has a star role as the title of track two. Many allusions and blatantly biblical references are found throughout "Hello, Dear Wind", which with other artists can be sore to listen to, when you start to feel like your mother is in your headphones nagging you to go to church again, but Page France are not preaching. Without the reinforcement of being a firm believer I found solace in knowing Page France is asking the same questions we all do. My favorite line that puts it all in perspective is found on "Dogs" where Nau confesses "I'm not sure what happens when everything here ends, but I hope it's like they say, and I hope it never ends..." To be realistic, sometimes one must come to terms with and embrace the universality and absolute influence of the Bible which has been repeated, retold and transformed through various works in time. The imagery of the roaring lions, gushing streams, hearts of gold, swinging chariots, trumpets calling, and dancing animals playing in a band sounds more like a party than a sermon.
"Hello, Dear Wind" is warm and bright. There are tambourines and bells, hand claps and backing female vocals and songs that I feel I've heard times before, and wish I'd written myself. Fifteen tracks sounds intimidating at first, but Page France are nothing short of a pleasure to listen to, fall asleep to or sing along to, loudly. I find comfort in knowing that Michael Nau has brought all of his friends on this record to share them with us. Although I have read that tidbit of information somewhere else, those loud noises that only friends can make when spending time together is what makes this record great. The album's opening and closing songs together culminate with the repeating lines of "we will become a happy ending.." and I don't know what I feel when it's all said and done, but this one sure is a keeper.
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- ▼ July (6)