Infrequently, music can be a synaesthetic experience — bare sound can produce not just a resonant feeling, but a visual one as well. I don’t describe myself as synaesthetic in any way, but when I listen to this album, I see colors. Granted, it’s a cliche, because what I see is aqua and green — bright yellow, bright hot blue — even when I’m listening to songs that are supposed to be about rain. To me, this album is summer, and not summer in Utah where I spent the last ten years and the heat bakes your eyeballs in your skull. It’s summer in the tropics; it’s LA summer, Hawaii summer, where you can walk to a beach and the sand is impossibly clean (in my fantasy the ocean doesn’t smell like dead fish). I look up and the palm trees rustle because there’s a wind off the water. And the ocean, as blue as a Postmarks song, stretches out to the horizon.
Yehezkely, Moll, and Wilkins’ leitmotif is the weather (and, extendedly, nature). Nature pervades every single song, and weather is mentioned more times than is decent. In fact, if you don’t like weather as a metaphor, I think you ought to stay far away from this album, because it will make you cry. Witness, from “Weather the Weather” (I know, right?): Will you be my sweater / and weather the weather with me / I would wear you every day / in the sun or in the shade. Or from “Watercolors”: I’ll close my eyes / until this storm clears / no umbrellas keep out this rain / no soft clouds cushion my pain.
Still, Yehezkely and Moll (cowriters) have a sly turn of phrase when they want to: in “Know Which Way the Wind Blows,” she sings slyly: Do you carry magnets in your pockets / cause i’m having trouble resisting your gravity; and there’s a beautiful image in “Winter Spring Summer Fall”: My heart in hibernation / woke up to the sound of the beating wings / migrating home. Add in the fabulous instrumentals and Yehezkely’s clear vocals, and it’s a winning combination all the way around. Even though the album is supposed to be uber-melancholic, I don’t get that vibe like, say, I got with Camera Obscura last year. It’s almost too detached for that; more like we’re reading a girl’s journal, years after the fact of sadness, and she pasted a postcard onto the facing page. “Wish You Were Here,” it says. But it’s lying.