Bowerbirds - Azaleas EP (Digital)
Azaleas is the sound of Bowerbirds’ Phil Moore wrestling with uncertainty; it’s a succinct examination of how Bowerbirds’ hopefulness endures, in spite of itself. Written and recorded in just a few weeks at Moore’s North Carolina home during quarantine, on these songs, Bowerbirds’ subtle, tender folk rails against capitalism and complacency, rippling with the frustration of wanting to push back against the world at large.
Like Bowerbirds earlier 2020 EP, Endless Chase: 2020 Singles, Azaleasmines Moore’s memories for inspiration –but here, that collides sharply with existential malaise. These six songs exist in the strange, stark chasm between the dread of the present and the warmth of nostalgia, teetering between now and then.
That’s maybe most explicit on “Paper Moon,” a conversation between future Moore as an old man, who he was in his youth. He draws from a brief stint of time spent living in the desert working as a wildlife technician, driving out to Zion, the Grand Canyon, Montaña de Oro –and all the thoughts his younger self had on those drives, when every future dream wasbig and nebulous and stood just outside of possibility. Other songs pick up where that daydreaming let off --“Man on Loan” struggles with depression in the face of living in a world that doesn’t meet your expectations. And “Part Wild,” details wanting toexplore every possible choice and path in life, encapsulating a late night mania, including drums tracked at 4am.
The bookends of Azaleas contain Moore’s thesis inits purest form. Opener “Home Wrecker” unfolds with him wondering, What’s it all worth inthe end? As long as there’s lives left, there’s lives left to waste, trying to push back against the weight of how fucked we all are. But by the end, he’s come back around --closer “No One Left in the Garden,”written for Moore’s son, is sanguine and inherently forward-looking. He’s buoyed by his faith in the person his son is becoming, and how he seems better off with handling hardships than his father. It’s like leaving places better than we found them --it’s the cyclical nature of how and why we come around to believe in the future again, even when the odds seem against it.
Release Date: October 30th, 2020
Record Label: Psychic Hotline