Monday, August 16, 2004

All This Useless Beauty

I need to be better with taking our digital camera along with me when I’m out and about. Last week, with its near record lows (like August infested with October), offered some of the most beautiful play of light, cloud and water that I’ve ever seen. On both Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening, while biking the lake path, I was endorphin stunned by the beauty of it all- the emerald greens and the dusty blues, the mournful grays and the hints of witches purple. Particularly captivating were the white lifeguard chairs and how they took on almost mythological watchtower proportions when framed by the riot of colors smearing the water and sky. The lifeguards, wearing their flaming orange jackets, were also pretty amazing against this backdrop, almost phosphorescent.

This past Saturday I couldn’t quite get started. Do you know what I mean? There were numerous tasks vying for my attention and I haphazardly descended on each without the necessary discipline or curiosity to see any of them through. One of those days. A shot of welcome uplift was provided by watching Vincente Minelli’s Father of the Bride, with the best Spencer Tracy performance I’ve seen yet- suffused with just the right balance of fatherly tenderness and overwhelmed-by-wedding preparation and-where-has-the-time-gone wariness. And the ending is so very pitch perfect, with Tracy and his bride of over 20 years lovingly dancing alone amongst the ruble of their daughter’s reception as the camera gracefully glides back into a fade.

Enjoying Rogue Wave’s Out Of The Shadow, where hints of The Shins (especially on Kicking the Heart Out) and Elliot Smith (especially on Be Kind-Remind) play themselves out over the course of 12 songs that seem terribly familiar for being so brand new to my ears. It’s all very good, seductively crafted pop with off-kilter melodies and clever splashes of squiggly keyboard amongst all the guitar jangle. It’s familiar but certainly not mundane- it seems to be picking up on some of the abandoned trails of late 60’s and early 70’s American pop and going deeper. Definitely plugged into the same amps as The Shins, sharing their mastery of quirky chord changes that startle with their unexpected intensity and beauty.

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