By Nico Petry-Mitchel
Having never listened to music by Perfect Posture (Patrick Budde) or Pontac (Max Abner), all expectations were thrown out the window. Their two track collaborative album delivers a melancholy, yet celebratory tribute to singer-songwriter Daniel Johnson and musician David Berman (Silver Jews, Purple Mountains) who both passed away in the late summer of 2019. Each track is a cover, one of Johnson’s and one of Berman’s. The album is available on a pay-what-you-can basis with proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Sleeping Is The Only Love” begins with a soft drum break to get your head nodding. Seconds later, the guitar and harmonica melodies begin to overlap. A tone of blissful reflection seems to set in. Pontac then begins to sing the words originally written by Berman. With verses like “I’d crawl over fifty yards of broken glass just to hold on to your hand” speak to the yearnful nature in the romance of music, something evident in the shrill voice of Pontac reminiscent of rock icon Neil Young. The halfway point is marked by a harmonica solo parallel to the soft-rock mood and pitter-patter rhythm of the lyrics. Again we hear the refrain of “sleeping is the only love” repeated in harmony until the song slowly fades… and you can’t help but sing along.
In “Some Things Last A Long Time,” the slow beat of the drums and humming of the synthesizer remind me of watching the sun set over the horizon, exploding with peachy oranges and reds. Channeling some Pink Floyd, the mesmerizing quality of the melody is complemented with a drawn out and hazy vocal delivery. A dream-like sensation is established through a mixture of stops and starts in the beat and long, subdued lyrical recitation. This is best heard around 2:34 (about the midpoint).
“Your picture, is still on my wall” is a verse that’s repeated multiple times throughout the song. As someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, the transient space created by the melody is capable of letting the listener dive into their own mind and evoke whatever relevant emotional imagery may come. I felt a bit of detachment from my surroundings as I listened, the song demanding all my mental focus.
The pair of covers are able to commemorate the lives of both Berman and Johnson in just over 9 minutes. Each song captures your attention in seconds with vivid productions and lyrical performances that touch the core emotional threads of love, adoration, and longing for what was (or is). Go listen, go feel for yourself or for someone you’ve cared about, and be immersed in the illusory sounds of Perfect Posture and Pontac.
Album can be found via the Pontac and Preserve Records bandcamp pages.