by Joe Gutierrez (@purityofheart_)
How is one supposed to wrap their head around this sort of thing? What we have here is “I can’t quite put my finger on it”. Happy Together is one of the finest records of the 21st century. And you get to hold it in your hands. Lucky. Look at that cover. Welcome, passenger. Ready for departure? You are the brown bag- what do you hold? You are the flower pot- where did you grow? I ask myself if I’m hearing things that aren’t really there. Are the things I’m hearing even really there? But that’s enough hubbub, I’ll try to get down to the nitty-gritty of it.
Mega Bog knows how to make an entrance. “DIZNEE” opens as a time-lapse video of a flower blooming, petals stretching up and out. Emerging from a cave into the light of day. Then maybe a piano falls down a flight of stairs and you’re thrown into what you heard people call “chaos” all those years. Each measure is a confetti blast, icing on a cake. An unbelievable mixture of ominous atmosphere and lying back comfortably, eyelids drooping. Hello, “Marianne”. Two knocks at the door and a balloon sputters up into a bright blue sky. Bass twirls and stumbles off-trail, but never lost. A river, a stream, a brook, some water somewhere. It runs through every track on Happy Together- quenching your thirst. Some spy-film genre classic melting in your DVD player. Verses dip and dunk into a darker place. Lines are not simply sung- there are demands, requests, suggestions, observations, musings, and lullabies. The versatility of Erin Birgy’s voice knows no bounds. Lift off. Something is in the air. Frequency. It is really wild and free, don’t you think?
Lights shatter. There’s a future, somehow. “Modern Companion” is so essential to this record. Mystical icicles. A traipse into forbidden cave or zone. Truly weird. Buttons and levers. Walking through unrecognizable rooms in space. Turn on your computers. It’s a breather, a pause. A reflection. A calculation. A watchful eye upon everything happening around you when you can’t find the words to say what. The stormy sea inside your skull, and all that’s rattling away in there that you hear but cannot name. And then “Worst Way” just comes crawling out of that, like some pre-human life form emerging out of the ocean, slowly growing legs and walking upright. Just trudging along in the muck until you get to the place you need- or the place that needs you. Sweetly, too. It’s like a recovery. A rehabilitation. “I could’ve swore I did my best”. Flickering, bent saxophone. Mystic, soft holler out there in the distance. The way that sax dances with the vocals. Truly a magnificent piece of music- drum-machine odd lull of a pace, dragging along with a bit of a cheerful vibe. Maybe it drips like honey. Maybe it tastes like honey. A slow simmer emerges from the mess of sound before it sincerely muses over scattered song-shadows dancing amongst light projected onto a wall in the dark, calming. Briskly sweeping something away. Bringing it back again.
Such a triumphant work, full of intent and passion. Sentimental sun-drenched tree bark. I once took a zoology class and we dissected things. Trying to write about this is like trying to name the insides without any knowledge of anatomy. Or like one of those mini twisters in the street that picks up litter and leaves and swirls it around in the air and your heart jumps a little because no, this is not normal. Fogged up windows in the winter cold, a child drawing there with their fingers, not knowing it is only temporary. What we have here is pure feeling, filled to the brim- a very special thing.