The Longsuffering Song in Review

September 9, 2011 § 6 Comments

The day passes. The sun sinks behind trees, streaming in through windows and sliding across the living room floor in slow pilgrimage, as if light were a thing to be followed, sharp angles and all. In the lengthening shadows, the sound of The Daredevil Christopher Wright’s latest EP, The Longsuffering Song, takes you by hand and pulls you after those shifting spots of light.

It’s been awhile since these three men from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, have released music or toured, but their time has not been idle. In five weighty songs, they question all that’s good and bad in us and say to hell with it, we’re living anyway. Listen below.

It begins with a song fit for cathedral-beauty, height and beauty being natural companions. In their architectural harmonies is the vestige of stained glass windows and towering ceilings. This brief song grows to fill its given space the way refracted light colors everything, the way confession begs a larger grace.

The smallness that grows can stem from a holiness within us or something awful: the wolf, the bear, the beast. (Even cathedrals have unpleasant sides: histories of slave labor and cold, damp floors.) There’s a danger to the small things and what they could make of us. In the choice we face everyday–to regress to animal or grow beyond that–is the fear that we will choose wrongly or that our better self is sadly, still animal. “Deep in my past is a thirst that at best is perceivable and at worst insatiable,” sings guitarist/vocalist Jon Sunde. It’s a paralyzing fear. It sparks doubt, revulsion, questions you’d rather not see answered.

Yet the next song throws off all paralysis with the challenge to love with everything we are, to give with abandon. Even when it’s complicated. Yes, even then should we plant, sing, flourish, make known and be known, fill the space we are in and overflow. To love like this is to chase after holiness.

The tension between fear and abandon continue. An eerily playful tone runs through the somber “Man of Significance,” and there’s a hard persistence in the music of “Darkness, Darkness,” (“What of all the things you used to profess?” asks Jon.) In the realm of our hearts, truth is not clear. The beast crouches not far from love. Sometimes our eyes are on the patterns of light; sometimes the shadows.

In the end, though we wait, though we shoulder the longsuffering life, we see change. Subtle, yes, but movement nonetheless. The Longsuffering Song is the story of music makers learning to pace themselves in the long haul, fumbling the steps to become better people, allowing the terrible inward self to give way to love as shadow and light mingle in the coming of dusk, the first stars of evening.

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