Music Reviews
The Music Lovers

The Music Lovers

The Words We Say Before We Sleep

Marriage Records

The Words We Say Before We Sleep is a new album by San Francisco band The Music Lovers. It’s simply gorgeous. The band is a trio: Matthew Edwards, who writes the songs, on vocals and guitars; Paul Comaskey on drums and vibes; and Jon Brooder on bass. This combo is so golden it’s distressing to read that Comaskey left soon after these sessions were finished; his vibes especially lend the proceedings much of their moonlit loveliness. Edwards sings in a deep, easy and plainspoken manner, and writes songs that at once recall Martin Gore (when he was good), Sting (ditto) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (well, obviously), all in music that blends folkish simplicity with symphonic richness.

And yeah, I know I’m sounding like a man in love.

My two favorites? Well, it’s not just the utter brilliance of even having a song called “Sometimes People Just Do Stupid Things.” It’s that unlike a few other records, this one backs up a great title with a great song, and the album’s most immediately likable melody. Then there’s “Nothing,” which is something. The songs are literal, Edwards says; he also says he’s never lived on a farm. So I don’t know if some “she” actually left and took his sense of place, as he sings on “When She Left The Farm.” But I believe he knows the feeling. It’s a song that plays a lot like the latest chapter in a story the Beatles started with “She’s Leaving Home” and the Bee Gees continued with “Massachusetts.”

What makes the songs here want to be wanted is the way they seem to seep up from behind your head like a rewound dream. Fittingly, this is a nocturnal album, best heard after 11, but it sounds good anytime.

And yeah, I know I’m sounding like a man in love. Sometimes you get an album that just fits you like the proverbial old shoe. This is one of those that seem, in places, to address me so directly it’s almost uncomfortable, as though elves came and made it for me in the night.

The remainder of this review lists completely self-indulgent moments from this band, their album and their songs that will make perfect sense only to me and my friends (if them):

They give a shout-out to Dexy’s Midnight Runners in the promotional material.

They wrote a song about Kenneth Tynan’s mother.

There’s a song about lusting after a girl named Virginia.

And I can’t say more about “This World Vs. The Next World (Revisited)” than:

“I’m plighting my troth to the underground, turning all the kids onto the San Francisco sound.”

I wanna go home, you know? I really wanna go home.

The Music Lovers:

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