There’s a moment post-breakup when things become clear. You finally understand what has happened and you realize that you will be okay. It doesn’t come easily or quickly but it eventually happens.
In There’s A Light On Upstairs, Wade Morrison (Math Club) is trying to figure out a lot of stuff (he grapples, for example, with his religious beliefs in the thunderous “Blood Work (Cathedrals)”) but mostly he’s trying to figure out what happened between him and an unnamed girl. He’s a mess and grieving a relationship. Instrumentally the album is largely chaotic and loud, powerfully charged with frustration and sadness. Despite all of this, it sounds like Morrison is having one of these post-breakup moments of clarity. So many emotions are swirling around him and yet with his consistently calm voice, it’s as if he’s going through everything one last time and he’s ready to go forward.
In the album’s most emotionally rich track “Good/God,” we get a glimpse of the crumbling relationship in question. Alongside a heavily distorted guitar, adding to the emotional din, Morrison bends back her “armour,” they plan for the future but just as quickly, it unravels. He even shows up drunk one night to her house and is sent home in a cab. Just as the song ends we witness the frailty of his will when he reveals, “But you were, good God, beautiful and I was hoping I could stay.”
By album’s end, Morrison is bracing himself for “The Moving Forward”; the healing has begun. Earlier, he’s not ready to move forward when he sings, “you started singing songs about moving on,” and admits, “I tried my best to sing along” (“Songs About Moving On”). But in “The Moving Forward,” Morrison can sing his own song of moving on. The past is put to rest, he can no longer remember her face – their love is the cold dregs at the bottom a tea cup ready to be put down the sink.
There’s A Light On Upstairs has calmness among its chaos and healing among its pain. It’s a whole house cast in darkness but with a single light on upstairs.
Top Track: “Good/God” ; “The Moving Forward”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)