Step Forward

You can never truly escape your past, but should you try?

This is the dilemma central to “The Memory Museum,” a song from the forthcoming album by Lightning In A Twilight Hour. Wanting to remember the good things, without wallowing in the past, lest you get trapped behind one of those glass cases, staring ever inward.

It’s a theme that singer/songwriter Bobby Wratten illuminates with a clarity that stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard this track. Because I also try to avoid falling down the memory hole, as comfortable as I am tracing its edges. But it’s tempting… as time passes, it continues to fill.

Being present is so hard
When more and more
Our memories are what we are

A drum machine propels us forward, with a soft shimmer of chiming synths and guitars setting the stage for Wratten’s pensive vocals, familiar to any of those with collections stocked with records from his previous bands (The Field Mice, Trembling Blue Stars). Vocalist Beth Arzy provides both counterpoint and chorus, whispering of what was and what is.

Then a meandering bass line sneaks in just before the chorus, gently piercing the atmospheric haze and looping us towards other possibilities, paths forward.

In the end
Shouldn’t you at least try to
Only ever look ahead?
Look ahead

As nice as it is to put on those old Field Mice records sometimes, I do want to look ahead, not wallow in the love-besotted/lovelorn twentysomethingness that Wratten, in his own twentysomethingness, captured so well at that time. So I’m putting down the needle on a record without a worn groove, reveling in the crackle of the needle and the static electrical spark of the new.

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