BCH Pick Of The Week: Wisdom Teeth - MPSO
For the past few weeks I’ve had terrible insomnia, and the nights and days both meld together into a painstaking, dream like mesh of struggling by. I’ve listened almost exclusively to dreampop, shoegaze and ambience; trying to lull my brain to a place of rest, and have filled the rest of the night hours with science podcasts and non fiction; figuring that I may as well learn something if I’m to stay awake. Wisdom Teeth and I met while the dawn broke on a weekday, after two absurd hours of pretending I was going to sleep and then six learning about the different subkingdoms of life (because what else is one to do?). Within a track I was soaring, tethered to the strange reality that has become my ever-waking life while Daniel Gray, aka MPSO, took me by the wrists to a gentle elsewhere. Wisdom Teeth is gorgeous, an otherworldly collapse into an orchestra of pedals, guitars, and synth while Gray churns hazy harmonies and spacious vocals from what seems another room.
Gray’s lyrics reveal an ache, and to whom or what it is directed remains a mystery among the lovely crush of eight tracks. Wisdom Teeth is the symphony of a man calling for something unattainable. In my manic crush of insomniac half-thought it reminded me of social amoebas. Amoebas are microscopic organisms, shapeless wanderers of ocean and earth, in a kingdom apart from our own. They are untethered, innumerable creatures, single celled and yet some visible to the naked eye, shifting shape and propelling themselves through tiny environments in remarkable ways. In this strange yet beautiful way, Wisdom Teeth propels itself through a fluidity of sound- it is the perfect soundtrack to the strange adventures of amoeba. Really: I watched microscopic amoeba doing their odd dances throughout the entirety of my first listen on Youtube. Picture if you will a twenty-five year old girl clad in an ancient Ben Folds Five t-shirt (incidentally the first band I ever saw live, I was twelve when Whatever and Ever Amen was released and golly I loved them) and boxers, strapped to headphones and a Macbook, grinning maniacally as single-celled organisms spasmed over her computer screen while the sun crashed through the window and her cat snoozed on her thighs. Insomnia makes a lady crazy.
When times are tough and food is scarce, social amoeba (also indelicately called slime moulds) do something remarkable: they mesh together to form what looks like a garden-variety slug (!). The ‘slug’ travels to higher ground, and the amoeba that form its ‘head’ pile on top of one another and their tiny bodies solidify. They die so that the others can live, forming a ladder or stem that the other amoeba climb before throwing themselves to the wind and hopefully, more fruitful pastures.
Imagine the loveliness of that merger, forming a strange creature that journeys faster and longer than any trip you have previously been on. This is where Wisdom Teeth begins, taking the listener through an otherworldly undergrowth it hasn’t yet ventured too. Then, if you will, imagine climbing the stem of your dead brothers and taking flight to unknown places, soaring on breezes on the back of those who have killed themselves for your flight. This is the feeling that Daniel Gray has made (or so he has given me, sleep deprived and bound to the early hours of the morning): one of loss and beauty, of taking flight and being grounded. Wisdom Teeth is a glimpse into a different kingdom, where single celled creatures flail and form things beyond the realm of waking life in a dreampop crush of euphoria and sadness.