Page France | Hello Dear Wind (Suicide Squeeze)

Hello, Dear Wind is brimming full of beautiful folk-pop melodies and sweet harmonies, but most importantly, Page France packed their debut full of buoyancy and light to guide us through dark times.

 


The last time it was as cool to be a Christian as it is now, Jesus was turning water into wine and sweet indie beards were worn by even the most un-hip of Jerusalem's citizens. Although other Christian-minded musicians like Sufjan Stevens and Danielson choose to downplay their religious influences, Page France damn near flaunts it. Filling their songs with images of burning bushes, a dancing Jesus, and angels, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Michael Nau displays a theological understanding far beyond his years.

Hailing from Baltimore, Page France's debut Hello, Dear Wind, rereleased on Suicide Squeeze, is a breath of fresh air. The melancholic beauty of the opener "Chariot," with its simple acoustic strum and Nau's innocent and childlike voice, sets the tone for the rest of the album. Although it begins with just Nau and guitar, midway through tinkling bells enter along with harmonies with Nau's childhood friend Whitney McGraw. The ending chant of "So we will become a happy ending" perfectly echoes the optimistic feeling of the entire album.

Another standout track is "Junkyard." Like most of the songs on this album, the song begins with acoustic guitar, then glockenspiel is slowly added to the mix and near the end a toe tapping drum enters. Although many of the songs share the same common elements, Page France manages to make each song sound unique never does it feel like they are rehashing the same song.

"Grass" is a charming acoustic guitar driven song complete with hand-claps and beautiful harmonies. As the track concludes, Nau asks the listener to "Clap your hands, clap your hands/It looks like the worst is over." It is immediately followed by "Glue," a slower song that showcases Nau's voice backed by only an acoustic guitar and a slow beating drum.

Although Page France rarely becomes preachy, their Christianity may be off-putting for many casual non-Christian listeners. I find it quite refreshing. At a time when Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell dominate the Christian landscape in America, casting much suspicion and distrust in the leaders of the religion, Page France represents all that is right about Christianity. They are all optimism and hope, which is welcome in the increasing dourness that permeates day to day life today.

Hello, Dear Wind is brimming full of beautiful folk-pop melodies and sweet harmonies, but most importantly, Page France packed their debut full of buoyancy and light to guide us through dark times. For anyone who was able to look past the Christian influence on Sufjan's wonderful Seven Swans or Illinois albums and see their splendor, Hello, Dear Wind should surely find its way into your CD player.

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