But move me is exactly what Quiet Company's "We Are All Where We Belong" does. So much so that I've sat on this album for the past month, trying to figure out how I could possibly put into words why I haven't been able to stop playing it. But sometimes, words fail and you simply have to listen to understand.
From the moment I hit play, I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole - one filled with swelling choirs, horns and strings, and the trademark sing-song pop/rock sound I know and love from this band. From the first note, the sound was so rich and stunning that it made the album not just new music but a Listening Experience. I've listened on headphones, in my car, on stereos and online. And every single time, I feel like I'm getting swept up by the music - like I'm standing right in the middle of the song, watching it all swirl around me as it plays. From start to finish, the record has that fantastic all-encompassing power to transport you to another place as you listen.
With that Listening Experience, I've spent the past month picking apart songs, finding the exact drum riff or bass line that makes the song for me. Perhaps it's from years of overdosing on Brian Wilson, but the orchestration of every single song provided an absolutely sublime listening experience to these ears: the unexpected string intro to Quiet Company's most rocked out live song, "We Went to the Renaissance Faire"; the tender squeaks of acoustic guitar strings in the opening of "Everything Louder Than Everything Else"; the haunting female voice echoing the "ooohs" at the end of "Preaching to the Choir Invisible, Part I"; the five seconds of horns 3:26 in to "Preaching to the Choir Invisible, Part II" that makes the entire song for me; and the complete shock factor of "The Easy Confidence" delivers in being SO un-Quiet Company beginning to end that it might be my favorite QC song ever. (Sorry, "Jezebel," you and your lyrical perfection have been replaced.)
The album's theme of breaking away from religion in favor of simply loving those you share your life with and letting that fulfill you is prevalent in every song - perhaps overly so for a casual listener. But I think any fan like myself will find the theme an interesting new direction that continues to elaborate on the overall theme of most Quiet Company songs: love conquers all. For a girl who listens to lyrics with meticulous mind of an English major, dissecting every line like I'm in freshman poetry, the ideas on religion and its breakdown are repeated in enough variations that the theme is obvious but not overbearing.
And the lyrics...every great once and awhile, I come across a line or two on an album that is so gut-wrenchingly perfect I can't stand it. This record has two:
One day you will look me straight in my eyes
And judge me for the things I've been in your life
I hope you love me when you know me well
-"Are You a Mirror...?"
And if Jesus Christ ever reached out and touched my life
He certainly left no sign to let me know he had
And I wouldn't mind that he couldn't find the time
It's just that now my heart longs for things that probably don't exist
-"The Easy Confidence"
But perhaps my favorite thing of all about "We Are All Where We Belong" is how it foils its lyrical content and theme. Despite the record being about the rejection of religion, the album opens with an organ - the kind that reminds me of my grandmother's with its deep, warbling sound that screams Sunday morning. There's various instruments used throughout that, like the organ, hint at the typical instrumental sounds one would find in a church. The signature Quiet Company choir backing laced through multiple tracks reminds me of a church choir singing hymns, loud and proud. It's just one more layer to this beautifully complex album which, in my opinion, is the band's best work to date.
"We Are All Where We Belong" is available Oct. 4, and you can order it online right here. If you're lucky enough to live within driving distance of Austin, I cannot recommend highly enough that you come to the CD release parties this Thursday (VIPre-Party, where tickets will be $10 at the door) and Friday ($10 tickets at the door or order an album package online here) at the ND - Thursday night is an acoustic show with a stellar line-up of QC friends, and Friday will, as QC's Twitter bio proclaims, rock your ass.
Until its release next Tuesday, listen to "We Are All Where We Belong" online at Paste Magazine - and let me know what you think.