Dead Man Winter: Furnace (Album Review)


By Jarrett Bellini | @JarrettBellini
Apparently This Matters: The Column

Good music comes from bad mistakes and personal pain.

Sometimes.

Recently, I tried to ride my bicycle and drink coffee. I crashed and broke my arm.

No songs were written.

But on the new Dead Man Winter album, "Furnace," Dave Simonett shows us how it's done. With real pain. Turning heartbreak into harmony. And void into verse.

Few musicians do it better. He's a goddamn lyrical genius. A true poet, firmly planted on my exclusive list of Talented Daves

Dave Simonett. Dave Rawlings. Dave Wilson.

These are three of the best songwriters out there today. And, oddly enough. they all share the same first name.

I'm not sure there's an actual point to that. But feel free to use my astute observation however you wish.

Dave Simonett is Dead Man Winter. 

Though most people know him as the lead singer and guitarist from Trampled By Turtles, his electric side project is just as profound.

And "Furnace" is, without even an ounce of hyperbole, one of the best albums I've heard in decades. It just a shame that in order to make it ... the guy had to suffer. A lot.

"I felt like I killed somebody," Simonett says of the dissolution of his marriage of ten years. "I can't imagine any more guilt than what I felt."

Moving out of his house. Explaining it to his two children. 

This was the giant kick in the balls that inspired him to chronicle the darkest period of his life into music.

A breakup album. 

Yeah. One of those.

Simonett admits he struggled with the idea, and questioned whether or not he should even release something so intimate and personal out into the world.

But thank Christ he did. 

 

The first single - and second track on the album - sums it all up. It's called simply: "Destroyer"

Midway through the song, Simonett comes to terms with his new reality and paints a vivid and simple picture of the stark logistical steps of a broken relationship. The end game. 

All the boxes / That are filled with my possessions / On the truck that I have hired / It's outside beneath the snow

The album wanders deeper into his new normal with observations about simple geography, isolation, and empty interactions with the ever-constricting world around him. 

Simonett paints that world in "I Remember This Place Being Bigger," which perfectly captures the literal and perceived darkness of the Minnesota he thought he knew.

Didn't sleep for days and days on end / And the fog got pretty dense / Other people like to tell me they / Had the same experience



Perhaps the most heartbreaking lyrics of all find their way out of a surprisingly upbeat song called "Am I Breaking Down" where Simonett questions his own sanity and - from my interpretation - his will to carry on. 

Here, he acknowledges the future of his son and daughter and whether or not he'd be leaving them with sufficient fatherly wisdom. 

Jack and Lucy know / What it takes to grow / What it takes to love each other / Can I go?

The songs on this album fluctuate in tempo and tone, much like the highs and lows of an individual going through a difficult breakup. Some days are better than others, and winning often means just keeping your head barely above water.

To that, "Furnace" is a sad and beautiful celebration of one man's personal disaster. It's heartbreaking and hopeful. 

It's perfect. And complete. 

Just sort of sucks for everyone else that the best album of 2017 led right from the gate. 

It's a fucking masterpiece.

1 comment:

  1. In muffle furnace, the test sample is kept away from any other element that can affect the result of the test such as fuel of combustion, ash from burning, the smoke of burning.

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