Sometimes the wisdom and splendor of a song can be hidden and/or encapsulated in the smallest gesture. Case in point: the second line in the opening verse of “Disconnected,” which begins at 0:41. And it’s not even the line itself but the rhythm of the delivery that I’m talking about. Front man Darian Zahedi sings, “Lost your grip on what you’ve been holding,” and the words skip out with casual, percussive cogency—“what you’ve been” is colloquialized to “wha’cha been,” and it’s the hurrying of the “what” and the in-between-beat swallowing of the “you” that makes the line inexplicably delightful. We had been delivered, following a ghostly pre-introduction, into a driving, minor-key rock song of uncertain lineage—there’s something early-’80s about it and also something early-’00s—but it’s this skippy little delivery that told me that this band was making its own, smartly-executed contribution to whatever you want to call the genre in which this brisk, engaging song is housed. I vote for “rock’n’roll.”
A similarly effective small-but-large gesture follows when the song leaves a lyrical blank at 0:53, after “disconnected and mishandled,” and fills it with a brief, plaintive piano chord. All the better that that same phrase emerges one line later to be employed in (and as) the chorus. It all seems so nonchalant and yet fully engineered. Another little detail to notice: in the second verse, the second line is sung minus the “skip” we heard in the first verse, but with the same kind of conversational phrasing (so easy to aim for and difficult to affect), and now (a bonus) with an ear-catching internal rhyme (1:28): “From a voice so near you almost hear it in your mind.” There are of course some larger good things going on too, here—the repeating ghostly “voice” (synthesized?) that propels and unifies the song, the centrality of an unadorned piano, the feeling of discrete aural space in an age in which mixes too often turn to DIY mush. Most of all I love how unfussy everything seems; the song proceeds in a “just so” kind of way; even the guitar solo (2:56) seems to float in with a fetching combination of diffidence and authority. Keep this on repeat for a while and it just about hypnotizes you.
The Reflections are a duo based in Los Angeles. Their debut full-length album is to be called Limerence and is scheduled some time in the first few months of 2013.
photo credit: Adam Goldberg