Weaver at the Loom – I Was Searching and I Found
Release Date: June 11, 2007
Record Label: Independent/Catapult
Toxins roam these parts from time to time, so watch yourself/ Because they might just land themselves upon your doorstep
It’s tough to put a finger on the unseen threat that stalks the five tracks of Weaver at the Loom’s debut EP I Was Searching and I Found. It could be conflict, depravity, exploitation, dishonesty, or simply the dangers of everyday life. It’s perhaps more important to focus on the true message of the album, one’s ability to recognize the fleeting nature of life and to truly appreciate it, and let the perils remain nameless.
Given that it was born of a foursome whose average age is around twenty years old, the maturity exuded by I Was Searching and I Found is no small wonder. The subtle grace of the piano, drums, and arcing harmonies that flow through the album belies the band’s relative youth. But this is no amateur act. Opening with driving guitars and a thick backbone of keys, “Buck Up, They’re Coming” quickly retreats to the soft safety of co-lead vocalists Dan Smith and Izaac Burkhart’s warm ruminations. Their voices are at once anxious and steadfast, a sort of tentative strength that resonates and expands in front of the band’s lush instrumental backdrops. Smith begins “You Can’t Escape Them;” with a confession, singing “Call me a coward, it’s so fitting,” and his faint whisper echoes the sentiment. Gradually, carefully, the track builds, bolstered by the jettisoned admissions, and even as Burkhart wishes for lessened difficulties (linking quite deftly to a metaphor of rough seas: “I want my oceans in a spoon/ Something short and shallow/ Something that I can swallow”), his melody resounds across a dense landscape of harmony and triumphal percussion.
It’s this motif of overcoming the trepidation of an obscured future that binds these five songs into a tight vision. The tenor isn’t that of a victory march. It’s a quiet, but significant success, won by one who can’t be sure, but has to try. In “You Can’t Evade Them.,” Smith declares that “Though outside is dark and toxic/ I’ll try not to be afraid.” What is most impressive, conceptually, is that the individual effort is placed within the larger picture of existence, a single moment in a stream of collective time that will continue to, as Burkhart intimates in “But You Can Enjoy Life Before and After,” “Float on in fragile fashion.” In poignant mimicry of the thematic metaphor, each rivulet of song flows into the next, blurring the lines between track breaks into a melodic current of elegant instrumentation and gorgeous atmospheres.
Twenty-year olds aren’t supposed to write music like this. Beautifully delicate songwriting usually comes from more experienced bands, such as Sleeping at Last or The Appleseed Cast, not musical rookies who didn’t play a live show until 2007. But young or not, Weaver at the Loom has made a statement with I Was Searching and I Found. If they’ve begun by tackling personal insecurities within the grand arc of life, where will they go from here? No doubt we’ll find out further down the river.