By Liam Prost
P.W. Elverum & Sun
It’s reductive to try and encapsulate A Crow Looked at Me purely in its context. This is an album about the death of Phil Elverum’s wife, recorded in the room she died in, using her instruments. Yes, the record is just as dreary as it sounds, but it’s hardly as simple. Elverum’s work as Mount Eerie, as well as The Microphones, and his own name, share a collective downtrodden temperament, but nothing this forward.
The true genius of A Crow… comes from its detachment; melodramatic it is not. From the first line of the first track, Elverum introduces his own discomfort with the act of grieving through song. “When real death enters the house all poetry is dumb,” Elverum whimpers on “Real Death.” The record is stark, bare, and strikingly direct. Elverum refuses to entertain fanciful notions of death
and dying, only it’s unflinching, dark impenetrability. This groundedness provides a realism that reinforces the emotionality of the record. Elverum reveals his grief like an old friend over coffee: honestly, and with pause, with emotion welling up in the breaks between the lines. We know he’s grieving because he tells us he is, but we feel it because he doesn’t want us to.A Crow Looked at Me, Mount Eerie, P.W. Elverum & Sun