For most of us, 2020 was a wash. The coronavirus pandemic took a temperate winter and extended its feeling and aesthetic for the rest of the year. Even the summertime provoked in many of us a strangely dreary mood: everything too bold, too bright, and two dimensional. One thing that did not seem to suffer during this time however, was art.
The truth will set you free (or whatever), and experimental / shoegaze artist R.M. Hendrix of Boston has certainly cornered the market on this exploration. “Morning Complaints” is the debut single from his upcoming LP Shamblegloss, which in almost its entirety is an exploration of previously written material from a decade ago. Hendrix likens himself to a curator in this way, piecing together elements to tell the story and the truth of where he’s been, and perhaps where he is. “Morning Complaints” is however a brand new creation, and one that brings dreamy, lively energy to anyone’s fatigued heart, especially in times like these.
What I find most endearing about this track is it’s effortless pace juxtaposed by a lush, layered sound. Guitars stack with pristinely tailored garage-fuzz while synths arpeggiate and give us a dancey-bounce. This mish-mashing of psych, alt-rock and shoegaze brings to mind kids with paper mache: after a while, the creation is nothing like the elements you started with, and yet everyone feels much calmer for having gotten their hands messy. Make no mistake, this is a very refined composition (especially for this style), but the care with which it’s executed also gives way to the indication that the creator is in love with simply making sound. Hendrix is a sonic painter first, and a catchy one at that.
Hendrix’s voice on the other hand is an amalgam of many familiar voices, particularly for millennials: some Bright Eyes here, some Wilco there, and perhaps even Deathcab for Cutie. It’s an attractive combination, because through it all and in spite of influences, the person he sounds most clearly like is himself. I would in fact name “Morning Complaints” a sublime introduction to this artist, simply because it gives the clear indication of having nothing to prove. And why would he? Hendrix is here like the rest of us, mid-pandemic and taking his own experiential inventory. The trick is, he’s managed to make something crisp, unique, and novel with it - a creation pinned to an invitation for all of us to explore.
- Lee Moretti, BMN Contributor