In James Joyce's Dublin, the streets inhale and exhale an Irishness that is so fundamentally elemental that it's more a part of the landscape than the actual landscape--which is to say: his books are more real than the real space they describe. And so it is with Scott Kelly, great guitar griot and founder of Neurosis, and his Wake. Or The Wake, to be precise. Its reality supersedes the place, the space, and the particulars that gave birth to it. Mixing imagery that borders on a bold and stark contemplation of the limits of our earthly existence via our failed loves, efforts, conceits, and even our less-than-noble other failures (blissfully unspecified and probably unnecessary to have them specified: if you're alive, the blanks are easy enough to fill in), The Wake, with its lion-in-the-winter woe, wrenches the almost inexpressibly sad into seven songs that sound like what you hear when you're just about to not hear anything anymore.
"The weather never changes in my world." Goddamned right.
With only an acoustic guitar and his voice, Kelly crams the lilt, lift, and longing of several lives well lived into five-some-odd minutes of every song. Not only would this record not have been possible at any other point in his life--or ours, for that matter--than now, it also seems to suggest the shape of beyond-now: thin and on fire.