Commerce - What Happens Now
Record Label: None
Release Date: August 11, 2009
Commerce, a small Johnson City, Tennessee band, have created a truly beautiful debut record. What Happens Now has been referred to as a “mini-album,” but in fact, besides the length, there is nothing “mini” about this record. Each song is different than the next, using various instruments throughout the record including a harmonica, cello, and violin. Vocalist Matthew Little can not only sing and write, he plays guitar, keyboard, and bells. Due to this, each song takes its own turn and tells its own story relating to the overall theme of a loved one moving far away and the feelings evoked by the loss.
“Questions About California” begins What Happens Now, a somber track about a loved one moving far away to California. Little’s sincerity and apprehension is fully apparent through his lyrics, as he describes California as “a state so far away from here in boxes I have stored my fears.” Next track “Ivory Buttons” is almost haunting, as Little’s meek voice quietly speaks throughout the song until the buildup when the band coolly chants, creating chills. The track follows “Questions” theme, for “Ivory” is a track about having a mind made up and wishing someone would come back home and is a true gem and standout track.
“Green Composition Books” begins with the sound of a train and is a stunning song about missing someone; a violin and cellos making the song all the more poignant. “In Your Bones” is the most upbeat song on the record What Happens Now, showing the skills bassist Ethan Henley, but is in fact a very gloomy song. As Little explains “the birds remind me you’re on the other side of the globe” it is clear just how alone he feels.
“A Slip of the Tongue” features a harmonica, making the track very unique and “Oh No, I Said It” continues the theme prevalent throughout What Happens Now, but adds a feeling of hope as Little calmly states that “the scent of magazines will keep you close when you’re far from me.” Final track, “The Clouds in a Hurry” has a Manchester Orchestra vibe to it, for Little almost sounds like Andy Hull throughout parts of it. Although just over one minute, the song is truly beautiful as the band chants “and how this will end, no one knows” over a soft piano.
The theme of loss and losing someone who moves is prevalent throughout What Happens Now’s entirety, but Little ensures that this “mini-album” never becomes tired, for lyrically, each song is different and musically every track incorporates various aspects of Commerce. With only their debut album, Commerce have successfully crafted a superb, intricate record from beginning to end.