“River In Reverse”
words by tom johnson
photograph by andrew shepherd
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“It’s a curious thing to spend years of your life around a person and not know them very well,” Chris Staples plainly states, introducing his latest work, the solemn three-minutes of new song ‘River In Reverse’, which is lifted from his forthcoming new album, Holy Moly, released later this year via Barsuk.
Steadying the wandering nature of his voice with beautiful percussion and soft piano, the whole thing has a drifting nature that aligns with the aforementioned sentiments; of things waiting to depart, of something lost through grasping fingers.
“It’s natural to have a fantasy about one day breaking through that wall, and having the past redeemed,” Staples continues. “It would require a lot of work, going back to the beginning and trying to understand how it all unfolded. When you look at it that way, the impossibility of it is pretty clear. There just isn’t enough time.”
Written and recorded in his garage, in a series of sessions, over the course of 2018, and often through the middle of the night (“I was on a vampire’s schedule”) Holy Moly was pertinently shaped by his new-found sobriety, the process giving him an energy for creativity that had slowing been seeping away over the years.
“What I hope to communicate with Holy Moly is that a human life is full of possibility,” Staples says. “There is so much goodness that you can will into existence. I feel like people are resigned to a type of inevitable hopelessness in our culture. Why rule out the possibility that things can get better?”
On the surface, River In Reverse flows against this tide, offering three-minutes of crushing reflection, but there’s certainly hope here too; hope to be found in the moving-on, in the ability to let the past settle, clearing a path for what lies ahead. Both gentle and generous, it’s the kind of song that pulls apart the fabric of the day, leaving a space just for you and it – a gentle disturbance you’ll cling to for as long as the world allows.
Check it out below right now. Holy Moly arrives on June 28th.
Pre-order the ‘Holy Moly’ LP here: