So Much Love is the new release from Miles Wick, and I found I needed to be immersed in it before I could properly write about it. It opens with “Cloud,” a droning introduction with a subtly shifting rhythm like sand, or water, or the sky, or time itself. The atmosphere is so real and deep in its understated simplicity that it forces the listener to become the story in the lyrics. Followed by “In My Town In Your Town Too,” this track brings us back down to earth a little, but the gamelan feel of the chimes and guitar interplay still reference a similarly shifting rhythm.
Miles really shines on the title track, “So Much Love.” His voice rings clear and true with a tone that is simultaneously uplifting but also slightly melancholic. You don’t doubt that he is indeed overtaken by the love surrounding him, but perhaps feel that he is somewhat sadly detached from that love, as he entreats the listener to give in to the emotion. Again, the production is very nicely clean and sparse: mostly acoustic guitar with some synth and guitar counterpoint melodies and airy drums.
"Only Water" brings us back to the loose strummy drone that opened the album. It’s a wistful track which to me suggests an attempt at reconciling what is on the shore - expectations of life? Family? - with a part of himself that is so far out at sea that the "you" shrinks in the distance. This is Miles’ id and it’s not lost at sea so much as enjoying drifting free. The introduction of the ethereal harmonies and ghostly guitar melodies toward the last third bring a resolution but not a simple one: has the "I" in the lyrics remained at sea or joined humanity, and which decision brings peace?
"In Front of You" is something of a matched bookend to "So Much Love" entreating us to be aware of, and more to appreciate, what is in front of us. "It" may be looked at both temporally and literally. The album starts to wind down with "Empty Body" which again references the themes established in "Only Water" of drowning in the ocean and being saved somewhat resentfully or at least unwillingly.
"The Light" is a perfect follow up, a moment of transcendence beyond the body, beyond the ocean, beyond humanity. Again, there is reference to the theme with the droning bowed bass and screeching cymbals providing a haunting melodic tension which is broken at last by love. Or at least there is the hope of love providing the needed release.
The relatively short album is closed with finale “Dear Author,” which works very well as the epitaph for the album. It speaks longingly of a life gone too fast, of the futility of words, of promised actions which never realized. ‘What did you want to show us?’ he asks plaintively, and this invites yet another listen to this beautiful album about life, love, and artistic longing to try to understand what is being said even deeper. ‘Now it’s perfect.’
It truly is perfect. It’s not often an album gives chills not only on your arm, but in your heart. I entreat you to dive into this lush and beautiful ocean created by Miles, to swim far away from the shore of everyday life, of physical entrapment, to be lost in the sea of love.