Why don’t I have more vocal-group music?: … A nicely wrought series of words turned up when John shared news of his impending purchase of a Richard Shindell CD. A Google-sift revealed this review, an enjoyable series of words that limn Ida (a band I’ve read much about on Firefly, a mailing list I used to belong to) and an awareness that I don’t read The War Against Silence as often as I should.

No matter what words you fill them with, these songs are about human lives drifting inexorably together, about people who only come into focus as composite selves. These harmonies are the coalescence of my most tenuous and most optimistic theory about people, which is that loneliness and antagonism are intrinsically unstable states. I want to believe that this is what it sounds like when any two (or three, or ten) people sing together, that we hold ourselves apart from each other only by the most obtuse and concerted effort. Music doesn’t bring us together, it pours out of everywhere we touch. These awesome, paralyzing songs are nothing more than the sound of us finally ceasing to struggle against the irresistible gravity of souls.

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