“One grain of sand, a sliver in time
The infinite search for a meaningful sign
But not every tale has a circular plot
For the ocean can do what the drop cannot…”
“The Ocean” – Goodnight, Sunrise
The end is the beginning is the end.
Not just a Smashing Pumpkins reference, the notion of cyclical narrative is nothing new. Analysis of literature has often spoken of concepts like the antenarrative, which in plain speak means this: we understand what is happening right now by assimilating lessons and knowledge from the past.
To carry that a step further, imagine a child learning to ride a bike. He attempts to pedal, falls sideways. He corrects his posture, manages to get started, veers sideways and falls because of poor handlebar control. Little by little, past pain informs future plans. His understanding of bike riding evolves (and hopefully, he doesn’t sail over the handlebars after hitting a pothole while trying to be cool like his daredevil cousin…). This would be spiral antenarrative in technical terms. It is also the backbone of Goodnight, Sunrise’s debut album, Create/Destroy/Create.
C/D/C is a cyclical album, with movements not dissimilar to Matthew Good’s last outing, Lights Of Endangered Species. Loosely falling into three triplets, the album is woven together by themes of creation and destruction operating in tandem. From the “sampled in reverse” intro that thrusts us into the War Of The Roses call-and-response opener “Love Fortress #9”, Goodnight, Sunrise explores the ways we build up and destroy ourselves. The exploration is vast, shifting from our primary relationships (“The Honeymoon Is Over”) to societal structure (heartbreaker “The Machine”). Little ties pull the threads together of the inner and outer circles: for example, “The Machine” features the lyric, “One day, this fortress will fall“, subtly nodding backwards.
Sonically, the vast array of influences meld together in a prog-classic-funk-rock fusion, yet surprsingly, there is no disparity. The band has distilled it down to a sound that is theirs, even if it defies conventional categorization. This lends cohesion to an album delivering both straight-up rockers like “Paper Napkins” and more sprawling canvasses like “This Is Our Wanting” or epic album closer “The Ocean”.
For all of the emotional and spiritual jugulars exposed and left vulnerable for attack, there is a sense of optimism left within the listener. Perhaps best personified by live show staple “This Is Yours”, the album’s title nestles neatly within its joie de vivre energy: “There is no time for fate/This is yours: create, destroy, create.” Between the frantic focus of Paul Weaver’s drums, Andrew Charters’ bass lines and the fluorishes of Vanessa Vakharia’s keytar lies a true love of music itself as a living, breathing entity. It’s enough to propel one to rise from the ashes and create anew.
“It lives inside of me,” Vakharia tells us; “I am a pilot, fighting gravity,” David Kochberg declares. Hearing this album, one can’t help but believe them.
Highlights: “Love Fortress #9”; “The Honeymoon Is Over”; “The Machine”; “This Is Yours”; “The Ocean”
Final Grade: A+
You can grab your own copy of this forerunner for album of 2013 from Goodnight, Sunrise’s website.