Monday, October 17, 2005

Faunts - High Expectations/Low Results

8.6 (on the Pitchfork scale)

When I was 23, I moved to a new city. Before long I met a girl I really liked. We started spending lots of time together, and soon we were taking steps down the road to relationship. After a few weeks of kisses in doorways and late-night Smiths listening sessions, we became official. Soon I was starting to love the way she shuddered when my breath touched her neck, or the look on her face as she watched the final scene of Mouchette. One night, after a few months of breathless enthusiasm, we met for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant downtown. She greeted me with an affectionate kiss and traced my lower arm with her fingers. We sat down to eat and, somewhere between the main course and the arrival of our dessert, she looked me hard in the eyes and told me that we shouldn't see each other anymore. I was dumbstruck with confusion; tears welled up in her eyes while she put on her jacket and left. I chased her down and tried to talk but she brushed me off. I called her once a day for the next few days but never had any of my messages returned.

About a month later she called. We talked for a few cordial minutes and I agreed to meet her for another dinner. We said hi with awkwardly-traded kisses on the cheek; over sushi she explained that she wasn't ready to invest in another relationship. I heard more about her old boyfriend, who had until now been just a combination of rumors and mixtapes. She decided again that we shouldn't see each other, not even a little bit. "It's just too hard," she told me, which sounded like it meant "I want you, but I can't want you. Not now, anyway, even though I know that by saying no now I'm probably saying no forever." She left, and I left, walking in opposite directions. As I neared the corner of the street, I turned to see her one more time, but she was already gone; the street was empty except for the shining light of the bar where we'd had our first drink. I spun and kept walking, taking a deep breath and a few rushed strides before looking up at the stars. Imagining thousands of others looking at the stars at that very moment, the air seemed clearer, and a wave of optimism surged over me. I realized the rest of my life started right now.

If I had had "High Expectations/Low Results" while all of this happened, it would have been my indespensible soundtrack to the wildly swinging emotions of those few months. "High Expectations" is the fade in: seeing her laughing, playing pool with her friends, putting Husker Du on the jukebox and singing along, leaving the bar and not knowing if or when I'd ever run in to her. "Instantly Loved" is the hazy memory of the night she brought me backstage to meet the band, the feeling I get watching her explode with glee at every new pose from the singer or kick of the drums. "Memories of Places We've Never Been" is our drive up to her parents' cabin, holding the steering wheel with my left hand and her with my right. "Place I've Found" feels like the week we spent apart, talking for hours into the night from faraway cities and wanting only to be in her arms. "Parler De La Pluie Et Du Beau Temps" is the return, the first eye contact to break the voice-only expectant waiting of the time spent apart, filtered through a French Film Noir where Mogwai, not Miles, provides the score. The first part of "Will You Tell Me Then" plays, on repeat, while our scene at the dinner table unfolds in piercing slow motion, switching to full speed once we exit the restaurant as the song's second section kicks in. "Twenty-Three" walks me home from our last dinner, starting with a deep breath and a glance to the sky. "Gone With The Day" is the sound of memory, the lost hope for beauty and the recollection of all things lost. Because, somehwere, deep down, I still hope she'll call and want to try again. "Low Results" drifts off to sleep as if dreams were my escape, my hope for the future and my chance at redemption.

High Expectations/Low Results would make a spectacular mixtape of its own; every song could roll over the closing credits of a melancholy Sofia Coppola almost-romance. It's the perfect comedown for nights that end at sunrise or for a half-year love, especially if you're not quite ready to let that night, or those glorious six months, go.

Time for honesty: Everything you've just read was a story; none of these things actually happened. But the metaphor works well even as the line between fiction and life is getting less clear.
You should also know that Friendly Fire Recordings, who's putting out this record, is run by my friend Dan. Which is why I'm reviewing this record, but not at all why I like it. I like it because it's terrific.


An Admirer said...

Dave, oh Dave. Why don't you love me back?

Jonah said...

Great story, Dave. I'll be checking The Faunts out.

dave said...

admirer - i'd answer but i dont know who you are [and why give a reason if its not honest?]

jonah - yes, do that. i think you'd really like them. you especially.

Admirer said...

I think the fact that you don't know me is exactly the answer to my somewhat illogical question...