Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Evan Bradford at Echo Mountain, Asheville, North Carolina
It's alright if you just let it destroy you. It's just fine to feel as if you're at the mercy of love, when it sneaks up on you and bites you hard. Farewell Milwaukee songs are odes to that feeling of being blissfully swallowed up by the emotion that's never destined, but more of a peculiar happening that never looks or feels the same way twice. It's easy to be surprised, even by a love that seems familiar, or had been glimpsed previously.
Ben Lubeck, lead singer and songwriter for the Minneapolis-based group, pens songs that strive to emphasize the majestic qualities of what some stranger can do to your wellbeing, to your unsuspecting home. In a span of seconds, a chance encounter can turn a person into the silliest putty, into the most feeling pile of goo imaginable. It's the onset of this most diabolical of sensations that can never be perfectly predicted. One song in this session, recorded at Echo Mountain in Asheville, North Carolina, this past fall, features the random meeting of boy and girl at the local bluegrass jam (likely story) and, within seconds, the girl's perfume is branded on the boy's mind and she's already being compared to the easy drinkability of a strawberry wine.
It's a match made in temporary heaven and, most of the time, that's all that anyone ever expects or asks for. If it can be good in the short term, they'll take it and just see where it all shakes out, once the come-ons diminish and the sweet nothings cool. The flowers on the girl's dress are going to eventually make the boy blue, or that's what he's preparing for. He's ready for the thorns when he grips the rose, but he's always willing to grip it.
He will suck in a big gulp of a breath and he'll close his eyes as he grabs onto the stem. If it doesn't hurt, he exhales for the moment. Lubeck sings, "Your love makes me breathe again/And your love stings oh when it starts sinking in/And your love, oh it keeps me up at night/I can tell it's gonna be alright," on "When It Sinks In," the title track from the group's latest record, but all he's telling us is that he's risking it all once again on something he's still not sure he understands.