Were you properly immersed in the new concept album called MASS from Friendship Commanders? Did you find yourself completely captivated and intrigued by “Dissonance”, the spoken-word closing track on that record? Well, the story doesn’t end there!
From singer/songwriter/guitarist AND author Buick Audra comes the words that inspired the tunes with the aptly titled book, MASS: Essays On Memory, Language, & The State Of Massachusetts. Available now as a companion piece to the record or as a book that can be enjoyed on its’ own, Audra revisits the Bay State and paints a vivid picture of the time she spent here off and on over the years spurred on by the recent death of close friend Marc Orleans (Sunburned Hand of the Man, Spore, Juneau, Enos Slaughter).
The most earnest track-by-track you could ever ask for from an artist, Audra’s story is so vibrantly related that if you live here (Part of the music scene or just your every day Masshole) it’s a fantastic nostalgia trip (But without the emotional heartache/break that Audra relays hopefully?) and if you’ve never been you feel as if you’ve never left thanks to the way her writing completely immerses you in the culture and scene in Massachusetts. Speaking of “scene”, within you’ll also find the genesis of 33 Slade, the band which Audra started with her brother Boey Russell (Check out the pre-Friendship Commanders outfit here), and their trials and tribulations across the Boston Music Scene which weaves in and out of the narrative of MASS. And for the MA purists out there there’s even a “Big Dig” reference in here at one point… along with comparing the isolation felt in MA being akin to The Shining as well as referencing “Pull a Boston” in terms of how some will just close off their emotions and feelings and put on a just happy face. For better or worse, Audra gets it.
We were preparing for an interview (Coming soon!) and almost took on MASS like a homework assignment, finishing the slightly less than 200 page opus in the span of 48 hrs. While we received a PDF copy of the book, we held off for one of our recent Bandcamp Friday splurges to arrive as we had a physical copy of MASS coming our way along with the vinyl (And because we’re massive physical media fans still). Barely knowing anything diving in, we were utterly enthralled with what was on the pages before us and even if we weren’t in crunch time would’ve found it hard to put down. And for our part, how do you review someone’s emotions? Short answer is, ya can’t. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of what else is contained in these pages. Like the album of the same name, though, MASS is really something for you to experience and interpret on your own.
MASS: Essays On Memory, Language, & The State Of Massachusetts is available now alongside companion record MASS, both of which can be found here. For more from Friendship Commanders, including ALL the tour dates of their current live excursion which include a stop at O’Brien’s on October 21st, follow them across the information superhighway by clicking here, here, or here.