The Alabama project Mosaics delivers stunningly beautiful, gentle but powerful post-hardcore contemplations on life, loss, and — perhaps most poignantly — the vast, ominous space in between those extremes on their new EP Peace Past the Pain. Project mastermind Trevor Johnson delivers majorly on the promise inherent in that title. Musically, he veers between some of the heavier but still richly emotionally nuanced extremes of earlier Being As An Ocean songs and the more meandering but still intricate sonic explorations of artists like A Lot Like Birds, and along this path, he establishes his own unique and remarkably gripping take — which even features some backing orchestral instrumentation.
The EP features four songs and totals only just over eleven and a half minutes, but in that time, the meaningfully and memorably poignant artistry shines. The main theme of this release seems to be — as the title suggests — gently pushing into some peaceful space beyond the chaos that’s wrought by both social and interpersonal calamity. Johnson’s lyrics, which he delivers with a combination of super dynamic spoken word and occasional louder post-hardcore yells, richly illustrate his clearly sincere ideas.
For example, on the opening track “The Pain,” it’s difficult not to stop in your tracks when Johnson sings:
‘Maybe those shattered fragments of the innocent children we used to be can still act as the painted frames of glass we put up as windows in these manic cathedrals for our loved ones to be able to see.’
“I pray you still let in the light,” he eventually adds, and thanks to the gently surging dynamics, these messages land perfectly.
That opening track features that orchestral instrumentation quite prominently, which includes contributions from a cello, viola, and even choral arrangements. (Those components are the work of Chris Shifflett, the drummer for the Louisiana metalcore band Weeping Hour, which also features orchestral interludes.) When the flowing strings meld right alongside the keys, the chills begin, and they continue for the entirety of this nice musical gem.
The EP’s gripping sincerity makes the experience of listening feel like you’ve been plopped down in the midst of an actually effective, poignant, personal interaction between loved ones dealing with pain.
Listen to “The Pain” on YouTube below.
Check out the full EP via Spotify: