Less than a year after the release of their Euphoria EP, Furnace Creek is back at it with Dysphoria – a 6 track EP in the alternative/indie/folk genre(s). I’ll be highlighting my favorite tracks here, but make sure you give the entire EP a listen on May 24th on Bandcamp and iTunes and wherever else you can find and support music!
To be clear upfront, the title does not deceive, nor downplay the content of the music in any way. It is, in fact, an EP full of dysphoria, angst, and questions. It’s refreshing to hear such honesty when many artists today share their work of layered answers. Art, both visual, performance, and melodic deserves to present itself in questions and evolve itself through discussion – Furnace Creek gains a few major points for allowing questions to exist and searching to be done beyond the final count of each song.
The first track, “Blackbirds”, sets the tone right away with the lyrics “The darkness has been rising; the cold winter winds have been settling in”. As Dan makes his way through the song, we come to the understanding that these cold winter winds follow the realization that wolves in sheep’s clothing are quite real for all of us – doubts, anxieties, joy robbers -, and that sometimes these ‘friends’ need to know they’re no longer welcome – a life lesson that I think we all have to learn the hard way.
Hopping down to the third track, “Lightbulbs” (written by Mark), Dan and Christina sing us through an acceptance of sort, that darkness exists and that it takes many forms. Despite the topic, the sweet, mellow melody and consistent acoustic strum give the song a very comforting flow. I’m a fan of spaces of discontentment between lyric and melody, and the halfway point of this EP was the perfect point for it to appear.
The third and final track I’ll touch on here is “Always the Moon”. A confessional prayer, wondering why and how a God of such magnitude could find any ounce of desire to bring His creation, who has done so much wrong, to Him. Nearly the last 5 minutes of this track include an explanation of the lightbulb metaphor – how we can zone into such a small moment of happiness brought by this temporary light, and how strongly we feel its absence. This absence internalizes so quickly and multiplies and before we know it, the noose is as tight as it can get.
I don’t want to leave you with a feeling that this EP is full of hopelessness – it’s not. In fact, the last few words had me throwing victory fists in the air because of how perfectly hope was fit into the picture. There’s always room for hope. I do want you to come away from these songs understanding that answers come from questions, and the tougher they are, the more weight they can carry. And even when your sky has been painted with the darkest of brushes, beauty exists. You can always count on the moon.