Of the endlessly “critic-invented” genres, one of the most amusing would surely be…folktronica. (Very Flight of the Conchords, to be sure.)
The LA by way of Portland singer-songwriter Brad Mackeson was, in fact, a guy with a lot of acoustic guitars, anxiously in search of the right inspiration. And wouldn’t you know, he found it by listening to the likes of New Order and Ennio Morricone, and messing about with what he calls, “weird synths and drum machines from different eras.” And it worked – though don’t call it folktro…well, you know.
Indeed, newly signed to Atlantic (and with his name shortened to just Mackeson), his striking new single “Falling Apart” – which BlackBook premieres here – is a widescreen stunner, with its haunting cinematic sweeps, thundering drums, soulful vocals and profoundly expressionist instrumentation. While one is reluctant to make such direct comparisons, it’s hard to ignore that this just might be the great, lost Tears For Fears song.
And very much like that band’s Roland Orzabal, Mackeson also manages to lyrically snatch a bit of personal hope from the threat of all encompassing nihilism. As he proclaims, “We are, we are living in ecstasy / While the world is falling apart,” one can’t help but feel inspired to do the same.
He explains: “The original burst of inspiration for this song came from a mental vision I had while I was playing piano at my home in Los Angeles. The political and social climate had gone off the rails, and outside of an apartment building on the streets below was chaos, people rioting, losing their minds, end of the world. Then I saw a young couple in the apartment building who instead of panicking closed the blinds to the world outside and decided to shift their focus and enjoy the moment. I realized that the world has always been and probably always will be teetering on the edge, and somehow we’ve got to find our balance.”
Words for our times, and forever.