The other day, the first day of the year as it happened to be, I wiped the sleep from my eyes and cursed my body for not letting me sleep longer. I was still a little drunk I knew, because I made coffee for the other houseguests at the house I had woke up in and even brought it out to them in the living room. I am not usually so thoughtful when sober. Then mechanically I picked up my phone and like the sad robot I am sometimes immediately went through the routine of checking my email and then my Facebook. It was on the latter that I saw a posting from the Paris Review about French novelist Albert Camus during the time he was writing his slim yet powerful debut novel The Stranger.
I began to read the article but stopped shortly after I had read about how Camus was working at the newspaper Paris-Soir in the center of the fashionable Paris but going home every day to work on his novel in the then still seedy and cheap art district Montmartre. I stopped reading there because I was overcome by having wanted to do something such as that all my life. Perhaps it is cliché but it seems to have worked for Long Island singer songwriter Casey Jacobs. Jacobs, who performs under the moniker Mayfly, moved to a little place in upstate New York and recorded a rather impressive indie acoustic record Momentary Paradise.
What I noticed and enjoyed about Momentary Paradise from the outset of the opening track “Balloon” was that it wasn’t a sad and sappy, poorly recorded, I locked myself away to deal with heartache, kind of record. This feeling became even more pronounced by the second track, the wittily titled “F. Emera,” which is delightfully poppy despite its touchy subject matter and stark and unforgiving lyrics, “Morning, in the wake of an atom bomb,” Jacobs sings with an unflinching aplomb, followed by “Lovers now reside in tombs of ash devoid of life / Their momentary paradise in pieces / Search the rubble for reason /
Dying on time.”
Jacobs proves to be a profound lyric writer, and his mid-level falsetto provides the perfect pitch to deliver his outlook on the life he has lived thus far. On later tracks like the ethereal “Snow Globe” (be careful sculpting your pain from scenes inside snow globes) he demurs “You can't pull away once you get too close / You’ll give them a shake, but just wait cause you'll marry the moments / Then the snow settles down.” And then comes these frighteningly poetic yet clearly realistic opening lines “Another weekend comes to an end / I hear the summer's getting ready for bed / Makes my heart want to vomit, feel it swelling up / And now nostalgia's come barreling in” on the beautiful and haunting piano ballad “Dandelions.”
There is a quiet and focused humbleness I found on Momentary Paradise, one which I don’t think would have been possible had the record been a mere bedroom or basement recording. There is for many a great pain in solitude. But being alone can also cause us to find our real selves and allow us to do things which we couldn’t otherwise, even if only momentarily.
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