Wed Nov 3
1001 SE Morrison
The best songs are parasites. Almost bypassing the ears completely, the best songs have a sneaky way of sinking in through your pores when your defenses are down, and rooting themselves in like a brain fever. Benevolently struggling for self-preservation, the best songs force themselves to your lips and tongue, stumbling out reflexively when you're in the shower or walking home after work. They're not content with passive appreciation. The best songs aren't satisfied until you are completely under their spell. And doesn't Jason Quever just write the best songs?
To be more specific, I've been under the subtle spell of one particular song, a languid dirge called "Pan American Blues pt 2," since the first time I heard it nearly a year ago. Its cough syrup build and passive falsetto have a way of slipping from my lips at least a half dozen times a week, quietly consuming the edges of subconscious as I waited for the record's proper release about a month ago. Now that's a good song.
Since their inception, Jason Quever has been the axis of the Papercuts, a revolving door sort of pop band that has, at various times, been stationed in San Francisco, San Diego, and even briefly in Portland. Despite its near half-decade existence, Quever's pet was long dogged by instability in both line-up and locale--which might account for the four year gap that stands between their debut (2000's Rejoicing Songs) and its follow up, the recently released Mockingbird. More likely, however, is that sometimes this sort of alchemy takes a lot of time.
Somehow timeless in its reverence of the dusky California pop of the late '60s, the songs on Mockingbird have a kind of deceptive effortlessness--the sort typically birthed from the exacting care of a delicate producer. Wet with nostalgia, the record is more than a little reminiscent of another quieted pop singer who's received a good deal of attention of late--recent 4AD signee Cass McCombs. Which makes a good deal of sense, considering Quever (with his Pan American Recording Company) was responsible for the production of and a great deal of instrumentation on, both of McCombs' records to date. And much like the enveloping chill of Cass' music, I just can't seem to shake Mockingbird.