Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
It's quite incredible that anyone that Jade Hopcroft writes about makes it through their days. It's incredible that they get out of their beds, get themselves into a condition that they could go out in and then actually get out of the house and into traffic. Somehow, they muster enough up to do just that, though they spend plenty of their time in their private, contemplative chambers, away from everyone. They look hard at what they're in the midst of and what's awaiting them. They intensely scrutinize who they are, who they're with, why any of this is and how they see it all playing out. It's enough to paralyze a person, to sink them into a hole where you just shiver and you jump at every little sound in the dark.
Hopcroft sings about her many nighttime fears, in a song of the same name, knowing that she's a sitting duck if they ever really wanted to come and get her. She sings, "I run and stumble/I'm a hunter's dream," giving us the indication that she's try to save herself, but she's aware that she'd be no good at it and perhaps that's why she remains so cautious. Even to the extent that someone breathing next to her gives her pause, Hopcroft is hesitant to get to presumptuous about what's good and what's going wrong. The simple act of breathing - sometimes as a scare tactic and other times not so much - comes up frequently in her writing, often with the thought that the silence and the sucking in of air, the nearly unheard blowing out of carbon dioxide is terrifying. It's not saying anything and still that air coexisted with the churnings of the head. Those terminated breaths hold secrets that will never be exposed.
Then there's the breathing that doesn't happen, when Hopcroft sings, "Nothing breathes here in the cold/And we don't get younger/We all just grow old," when it feels like visiting a tomb or a grave before we were meant to. There are beasts roaming around in Hopcroft's beautiful songs, looking for "a feast of skin on skin" and there are people who know very well what it's like to live as beings that are less than whole, who have had themselves ravaged. They keep to themselves almost exclusively, but then realize that it's not enough. They need someone to hauntingly breathe next to them, even when the act is so agonizing to hear. She sings, "The sad thing here is that we both know the truth/That you are scared of me and I'm scared of you/And the sad thing here is we don't know what to do/Do you let go of me or do I let go of you?" It's a feeling that we're not able to release ourselves from, until the beasts have gotten to all of us, until they've finished the job.