You roll out of bed, much too late. Or is it early? Hell, who knows what time it is. You don’t bother to dress. You just stumble across the room and catch an unsettling glance from the mirror. Your glance. You are reminded that you are, and when you are you can feel. Shit, that’s the last thing you want to do, especially now. You could go back to bed, but this will all just happen again. You’ve got to push on, to find a way to work through it all. It will feel different soon. But for now, that notion is just a story someone tells you.
Among other things, Majical Cloudz’ Impersonator is a sad album. But “sad” is an obvious word, and frankly it’s bullshit. It is a sound bite that barely conjures the disparate range of emotion available on these 10 exquisite tracks. “Sad,” as one dimension, is the “boo hoo” of somebody crying. But when you explore woe in all its majesty, it is both without motion and yet full of motion. It is being crumpled on the floor, remembering the details, laughing ironically at unfunny things, forcing yourself to walk, knowing there’s more joy possible somewhere and also not giving a fuck about anything. It is a process and it can last for days. Or a lifetime. Track to track we navigate this process and take in all the scenery with a deep breath and a heavy sigh—two very different things indeed.
Percussion is sparse on Impersonator. It is an album of mostly subtle synths and frequent refrains, and that is really all that is needed. Oh, and a voice, a deep clear voice that imparts every word with purpose, longing, passion and a bold sense of self. Vocalist Devon Welsh is not concerned at all with attitude or style as much as telling the story, and yet this is personal storytelling with such absolute class. You “get it” and it’s beautiful. “I told you that I’ve been writing / This song is proof that I’m trying,” says Welsh in the title track, exploring notions of being “real” or disingenuous.
This is a theme that runs through all 10 tracks, hence the album’s title. However, in “Bugs Don’t Buzz,” we hear “If life could be forever one instant / would it be the moment you met me?” which is heartbreakingly the finest line from the finest song on this outstanding piece of art. No mere “impersonator” could deliver that line as Welsh does, tearing you apart while simultaneously reminding you what once filled your heart. You don’t want to dwell, but you really can’t do much else. You will go through the motions as needed. But there is a triumph to be found in this: It’s the deeper notion that to feel this way is miles above feeling nothing, and that is a start.