Austin’s Abram Shook has spent two albums — 2014’s Sun Marque and 2015’s Landscape Dream — avoiding talking about the connections he has made and lost in his personal life. When his 11-year relationship came to an end, however, being impersonal was no longer an option. Heading into the sessions for his third full-length, he wrote two complete collections of songs: the dreamier, more intimate Love at Low Speed and the heavier, more detached Love in the Age of Excess. Choosing to focus on the light instead of the dark, he decided to record the first one, and as new single “Lisbon” demonstrates, it seems he made the proper choice.
“Lisbon” burns gently, more like the rising smoke from an incense stick twirling in the breeze than the glowing ember itself. Muffled horns and decaying strings sway around shuffling percussion in a dreamy dance. It’s a soothing soundtrack for the ephemeral moments that, however brief, remind us of the beauty in the world and reinforce our drive to continue doing the things that make us happy. “Share one right act of grace/ It appears we are led by the demons that we chase,” Shook sings. “Sometimes human nature abides/ Quiet down, be at peace, let it lie.”
The track was inspired by a chance encounter in Lisbon, Portugal that happened fifteen years ago, but still greatly impacts the writer. As Shook explains to Consequence of Sound,
“In the end, it’s about impermanence. About grasping at fleeting moments while each rapidly passing year increases the weight you might carry. The one constant is the work. In whatever capacity you deem the work to be done, it never ends. The work, in its steady consistent hum, can be a satisfying pursuit, or it can be maddeningly frustrating. Its love and sadness wrapped around the human condition. It’s a tribute to people and places that don’t exist anymore, but have shaped my life in unimaginable ways. It’s a song for saying goodbye so that I can look forward to all the work that needs done.”
Love at Low Speed is out June 16th via Western Vinyl.