Fri Jan 31, 7-10:30pm
All Nations Christian Reformed Church, 2535 Robie Street
It's been 11 years since the last Lost Wisdom record, a whole decade since indie royalty Julie Doiron (y'know, the best part of Moncton grunge legend Eric's Trip, the lauded singer-songwriter whose tunes are a rock-tinged ode to the everyday) moored the Bright Eyes-but-somehow-sadder sound of Phil Elverum's project Mount Eerie. And while a lot has changed in that time, both globally and personally—Elverum in particular has a new relationship to grieve—the anatomy of the sound has not: Sparse, chilly and contemplative soundscapes are built out from an acoustic guitar. Lone notes run down your spine like water droplets.
The first Lost Wisdom album (released in 2008) was a series of duets between Doiron and Elverum. Its songs were sad in their own way, before Mount Eeire dove deeper blue, making two lauded records after Elverum's wife died. Lost Wisdom pt. 2 carries similar emotional baggage, this time from Elverum's recent divorce from actor Michelle Williams.
And while it would be easy for the record to buckle under the weight, it somehow lifts with its legs, balancing the load. Lyrics dwell on the smallness of everyday life following a large, life-gutting loss, perhaps best in the track "When I Walk out of the Museum," which Doiron and Elverum sing in a push-and-pull:
"When I walk out of the museum, the wall of sudden light makes me crinkle up my nose/When I walk out of the museum, I have centuries of dust behind my eyes. I hunch a little bit from the culminated wait of all these other people's ideas/When I walk out of the museum, I think of a snorkeler surfacing, tangled in kelp—that is me/ The huge museum doors behind me slam and I flinch."
"His voice sounds to me—it sounds like wood in the wind. I feel like it's got a very warm tone and it makes me think of nature when I hear him singing, so when I'm signing with him I don't sing really hard or loud," says Doiron, speaking by phone. "When I am singing with Phil, I sing the way I'm supposed to."
Doiron doesn't play the she in any sort of he-said-she-said with Elverum. Rather, her voice—in both sound and style—hangs over the record like a lightbulb, illuminating the depths of Elverum's emotional landscape. In a review from Pitchfork, Elverum's penchant for a greyscale palette is compared to early Bon Iver before being called "at times pedestrian in [its] drama." Doiron doesn't see it that way: "If he has to make a record to be able to move on to new things, I think that as a songwriter we need to be able to feel we can say what we need to say and the minute you feel like you can't, you stop writing. You can't create," she says, defending her friend and art she believes in in equal measure.
When asked what she adds to the record, Doiron is quick to say she doesn't know if she adds anything, really, but that in holding mirrors to each other she and Elverum have caught a glimpse of something: "Becoming two voices singing these themes, it becomes more of a conversation and turns it into more of a relationship that multiple people can understand more."