When I think about Lincoln, Nebraska’s Eagle*Seagull, I think about one song above all others. It isn’t because their self-titled 2006 release on Paper Garden Records remains limited to this one song. In fact, it’s full of gems that have me putting on the album quite often. Nor does it mean that their Tomorrow Never Knows set didn’t contain many memorable moments. Instead, it’s because this one song elevated above the rest shows a true moment of brilliance and, although this six piece might put out countless others in future days, this will always be their definitive moment. It’s the same way with Slowdive’s “Dagger” or “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies. And that song for Eagle* Seagull is "Your Beauty is a Knife I Turn on My Throat."
There is no one on this Earth who can write a song quite like Eli Mardock. He can turn a song about loneliness and a wounding beauty into something you could dance to, as if there was a rhythm to desperation. And it is in this catchy anguish that we are reminded of the idea that in the refrains of a song we might find some common relief and make some sense of our world. It is this world that sees beauty as an end to all our means. Try to escape as we might, we’re forever haunted with preoccupied thoughts and dreams that won’t let us forget the images we’ve seen and remembered, stored amongst the crevices of our brains. It makes you envy the ones that can live in utter desolate isolation and stare at nothing but white walls all day because at least they would not have to experience the acuteness of images driving one to utter distraction.
And yet, maybe it doesn’t have to even be about physical beauty. It could also be about the completeness of one person causing you to absolutely lose your mind. It’s painful, disappointing, and self destructive, and yet astoundingly you long for more. There are dozens of pop songs that touch on the subject but none to be recalled that are as wholly clear as this one in which Eli sings his voice raw in his passionate echoes of the harrowing affect of one person on another. If you’ve ever felt this yourself, this is your song, too. By all means, sing along.