Backtracks: Field Guides – Boo, Forever

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Thumbing back to late 2014, Brooklyn collective Field Guides issued Boo, Forever, a debut album of short stories set to music. Obviously affected by Birds of America, the 1998 collection of short stories from author Lorrie Moore, Field Guides chronicle middle-class life and its longing for past emotional connections.

Much like Moore’s absurdist take on Raymond Carver scenarios which turn suburban life into black comedy, the vocal squabbling of Madeline Caldwell and Benedict Kupstas on “Lorrie Moore” with its juxtaposed lyrics and arrangement, the stern drone of “I Wish All the Hands” and the point-counterpoint of closing conversation “Peggy Asked A Question & The Answer Is ‘Yes’ & ‘Let’s Keeping Dancing'” with lines like “I wanted the family and I wanted the dance / I was Guildenstern to your Rosencrantz” and Caldwell’s cooing refrain of “Is that all there is to a fire?” captures the minutia of domesticity.

Waves of discontent crash throughout Boo, Forever, as on thrumming opener “A Song After Grace,” the surf-tinged debate of “Lisa Loeb Probably Never Pierced Her Ears” and the Luna-inspired shuffle of simile-heavy “Jon Says.” By adapting a child’s game to adult reality, “Marco/Polo” shows how quick years gone by can be swept away by the tide of inner pain.

Imbued by Moore’s postscript of “A beginning, an end: there seems to be neither. The whole thing is like a cloud that just lands and everywhere inside it is full of rain,” the seven songs of Boo, Forever are all preludes to endings; the narrators having the last word of lives long since severed. Once legal discussions of china, silver and other shared assets have been decided, there is joy to be found in Boo, Forever and its youthful, literary and musical take on misguided love and its aftermath created by Caldwell, Kupstas and their band of coconspirators on this treasured collection of songs for literary and musical minds alike.

Stream Boo, Forever below and purchase the album on black or limited edition colored vinyl and digital formats via Bandcamp.

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