JP Haynie – The Sand. Wild Kindness Records, 2011.
Jayson turned me on to the Wild Kindness Records catalogue. The other day, I started previewing some of the stuff from the label, and I had to ask Jayson, “Could this BE any more my kind of music?” in my best Chandler voice. I knew I wanted to review something from this label, and when I heard JP Haynie’s The Sand, I figured it was as good a place as any.
You may have seen me refer to the Microphones’ The Glow, Pt. 2 as “A desert of sound.” I would say the same thing for The Sand. Haynie has created some sparse, minimalist pop music that not only sounds kind of like a desert, but lyrically evokes the same. On the album, Haynie dreams about his life in Mexico, making allusions to the biblical middle east. For instance, on the first track, “Family River,” he sings:
“My family river flows here” I said,
I saw it in my youth, I felt it flowed forever,that it lead me to the truth.
This valley now is barren and river I see none.
It must have dried up lonely beneath the desert sun.
Compare that river to the one in “Peaceful River” (Which I imagine is the same metaphorical river):
My wife is standing over Jordan.
I’ll cross over thru the night.
Peaceful river, rolling over all our troubles makes us light.
Obviously, The Sand is an album about spirituality, and one using Christian imagery, but Haynie avoids cliches and didactic language and instead takes us on his spiritual journey, which is both an internal one, as well as a literal journey across Mexico and the American West. Because of this, I think that even the most hard-line Atheist would enjoy this album. It’s poetic, spiritual-without-being-preachy, and sonically beautiful.
The Sand is available through Wild Kindness Records on limited-edition, multi-colored vinyl, as well as digitally.