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Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp started The Rosebuds together the week they were married, and the four records of classic indie-pop that they released during their state of matrimony hardly belie the strain which eventually pulled them apart. The divorce that followed their fourth album left the two in a state of creative confusion. How were they to move forward as a creative force when their marital bonds had created tension between them?
The answer lies in the songs that comprise their new album, tucked into lyrics full of hurt and reconciliation, of reverie and renewal. There is a true and palpable sense of the search for comfort and grace on their new album, and today’s featured track, “Woods,” is no exception. Set against a toy piano refrain and a synthesizer hook that sounds like something plucked from The Cars first record, Ivan Howard sings knowingly about watching the ones you love leaving comfort for the wilderness of the unknown. At the same time, he seems to be admitting the flaws in stubbornness. Herein lies the impasse, and perhaps a glimpse of what tears lovers apart in the first place.
The imagery on “Woods” is heart-wrenching and made all the more so with knowledge of the backstory. Although the intensely personal and quite public airing of grievances could come off as pat or sensational, that these songs were created in the service of buttressing a creative relationship in the cracks and fissures of a failed marriage gives the entire affair an integral air of maturity and love. It’s messy and triumphant, tender with the promise of healing, like a day-old bruise.
Loud Planes Fly Low is out now on Merge Records.