Fear & Love
by: Mark Simms
out of 100
The weeping willow is often associated with feelings of angst and sorrow, its long hanging branches dipping into a dark and lonely stream. However, it can also be seen as a tree that offers comfort and shelter to those who hide under its branches, during rain or troubled times. This tree is an embodiment of sadness, comfort and hope.
“When you’re deep down in trouble I will come for you. I will listen when your heart needs to speak.”
The music of Weeping Willows is true to the tree: songs of hurt, lost love, and pain, immersed in an undercurrent of refuge and romance. This is music that is analogous to the ‘60’s songs of hope and heartbreak sung by Roy Orbison, singer Magnus Carlson’s voice fitting of the singers of this era.
“All I ever want, all I’ll ever be, all I’ll ever need, is you.”
Fear And Love is essentially a collection of love songs. Love can be a messy tribulation, and here, Weeping Willows sing accurately of its beauty and destructive potential. At times, the mood of Fear & Love is one of pent-up frustration, at others, one of pleasure – the double edged sword of romanticism cutting almost randomly.
“I’ve never told you how I feel, but I spell your name L.O.V.E.”
‘You’ll Never Know (How Good You Really Are)’ is Carlson’s voice at its strongest and most alluring, the restrained acoustic guitar, lithe piano, and soft drums blending perfectly with his lyrics. As electric guitar joins, the instruments build and break out, as does Carlson’s voice – the two elements reaching a heart-stirring apex at the exact same moment.
“A love that’s never growing old, does it even exist?”
Carlson poses many questions in Fear & Love: Will it last? Am I good enough? What is the point? The conclusion: not to worry about these trivialities, but to focus on the problems one faces now [akin to the thinking of Buddhists who argue that just as the past cannot be changed, the future cannot be predicted]. Fear & Love was released on Valentine’s Day 2007; a fitting day as the marriage of love and commercialism again demonstrates a double-edged sword.
“Everybody is lonely. I’m leaning on myself.”
The music, created by an assortment of instruments led mostly by acoustic guitar, never oversteps its role, highlighting rather than diluting Carlson’s truthful lyrics; every tiny noise fills the background. Flexible percussion consisting of shakers, tambourines, and drums; country-like guitars, catchy choruses and a laid-back feel, blend to form an album of lush warmth and poignancy. All of this serves to punctuate the delivery and weight of Carlson’s beguiling melodies.
“I’m no-one ‘til someone loves me.”
Some may say it’s all a bit too sappy, but Weeping Willows execute the songs in such a genuine, heart-felt way that they manage to avoid any cringe-worthy moments; creating the perfect balance of heart-rending lyrics and well-constructed melodies. The finished product is a collection of consolidations of love and the mixture of shit and joy it entails: “Jealousy is such a heavy burden/ it sneaks into my soul and never stops.”
The genuine delivery of touching heart-felt songs that at first seem gloomy, but later become comforting and alluring, is the reason Fear & Love works in conveying the confounding perplexity of love in a poignant and moving way.
“Fear and love will change a man. Fear and love will break a man. I know fear and love will make a man, a man out of me.”