[LEO’s biweekly sonic breakdown column deconstructs a single song from an area musician or band.]
Wombo’s song “Blossom Bear” is one of unpredictability, which singer/bassist Sydney Chadwick said is precisely the point. The band crafted a song that perfectly encapsulates the everyday roller coaster ride of the human emotional spectrum.
“To me, it’s about how our points of view or thoughts can change suddenly, coming and going,” Chadwick said. “How language is not really efficient at expressing those thoughts and feelings. What we felt yesterday, we may have already changed our minds on. We may not even recall our thoughts of yesterday. People change so much in just the course of a day. If there’s even a sure thing, it’s that what we experience and feel in the moment, and words tend to muddy the waters.”
“Blossom Bear” is dream jazz at its finest — elevator music for floating through space, if you will. Chadwick’s smooth bass lines perfectly sync with and complement her vocals. Cameron Lowe’s guitar work is as idiosyncratic and nonlinear as a thing can be while still maintaining the pleasantness of a crafty hook. Overall, the song deftly weaves in and out of (somewhat) traditional pop elements before embarking on sharp, yet delicate turns into bouts of more avant-garde flair.
“Music-wise, sound-wise, the song was developed during a time when I was listening to a lot of Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz, a lot of bossa nova sounds,” Chadwick said. “I love the way Astrud sings like she’s so worn out from all these feelings, like a whisper. It’s almost defiant in its quiet smoothness, like, ‘I’m protecting my inner voice, preserving my energy from all of this chaos in the world.’ Even the lyrics seem to stem from that kind of feeling. So, it felt natural to sing softer, be more natural with my voice. I hide that sometimes when I’m being operatic or with a louder energy. But I have to service the song and not all songs call for that kind of energy.”
While Chadwick primarily handles lyrical duties for Wombo, she found herself writing in collaboration with Lowe for “Blossom Bear.” It’s not something she normally does, but, she said, there’s a good reason.
“It’s just hard for me to sing words I haven’t written because I think it’s harder to be believable,” Chadwick said. “And I feel like people can smell the truth. I can definitely smell the truth.”
Still, something about Lowe’s approach grabbed Chadwick, and she found herself connecting to it in an honest way.
“What I loved about [Lowe’s lyrics] was that it talks so simply about life,” Chadwick said. “I like earthy songs like that. They make me feel warm. The mundane everyday life is underrated, and I think, myself included, people are a little afraid of simplicity and mundane reality. Familiarity in our culture is sometimes seen as a bad thing.”
One of the last things Chadwick reveals about the song is, indubitably, the saddest.
“The song is called ‘Blossom Bear’ after Blossom, which is Cameron’s recently deceased cat. In the song, there are faint little sounds of her meowing that Cameron caught on recording a while back. It’s sweet to hear.” •