Thursday, June 29, 2006

Days Chasing Days

Rarely has a love song sent such a shiver up my spine. I'm talking about the utterly brilliant "Days Chasing Days" by Melbourne singer-songwriter Stephen Cummings, taken from his 1994 album "Falling Swinger". Arguably Cummings's first fully realised work, "Falling Swinger" was given austere, yet well-crafted, virtuosic production by Church frontman Steve Kilbey, who has provided a new dimension to Cummings's archetypal soft-rock sonics by adding on electronic soundscapes, vocal treatments and echo effects. And this new approach works to incredible, almost unbearably poignant effect on "Days Chasing Days".

A perceptible, descriptive, yet somewhat allegorical story song delivered in Cummings's curiously calm lower-register tenor, "Days Chasing Days" surveys the final stages of a rapidly disintegrating relationship, suffused with a hard-won sense of acceptance mingled with barely contained sorrow. This makes for a thoroughly affecting and chillingly beautiful melody, coupled with Spartan instrumentation (measured, bare-bones piano chords and an eerie-sounding electronic drone) and some of Cummings's most nakedly illustrative lyrics ("In the city of my heart, you are the central part", "This is what fools me, time after time").

The overall effect is absolutely devastating in its emotional reach. One of the most heartfelt - and heartbreaking - songs written about the final, dying days of a romance.


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