In James Joyce's Dublin the streets inhale and exhale an Irishness that is so fundamentally elemental that it's more a part of the landscape than the actual landscape which is to say: his books are more real than the real space they describe. And so it is with SCOTT KELLY, great guitar griot and founder of Neurosis, and his Wake. Or THE WAKE, to be precise. Its reality supersedes the place, the space and the particulars that gave birth to it. Mixing imagery that borders on a bold and stark contemplation of the limits of our earthly existence via our failed loves, efforts, conceits and even our less than noble other failures [blissfully unspecified and probably unnecessary to HAVE them specified: if you're ALIVE the blanks are easy enough to fill in], THE WAKE with its lion-in-the-winter woe wrenches the almost inexpressibly sad into seven songs that sound like what you hear when you're just about to not hear anything anymore.
"The weather never changes in my world." – Kelly
With an acoustic guitar and a croon that crams the lilt, lift and longing of several lives well lived into 5-some-odd minutes of every song this record would not only not have been possible at any other point in either his life, or ours for that matter, than now, it also seems to suggest the shape of beyond-now: thin and on fire.
Enjoy it. Time is short.
--Eugene S. Robinson/www.eugenesrobinson.com