Ben Guihan is maybe too good at describing the crushing despair of a romance crumbling away on his song “Portrait in A.” A spare guitar line establishes a cadence while touches of pedal steel haunts the edges of the melody. It’s a framing that makes the pain seem not so bad and the poignant imagery full of idiosyncratic details of Guihan’s lyrics both serves to embed the mood and the forming image of someone dissociating from the direct impact of the romance dissolving from the inside out. The line “you say you take your love like you take your other drugs” sums up a good deal of the nature of the partnership depicted and how things have gotten to the point where the love shared has become a disposable amusement that is as toxic as it is sometimes still intoxicating. Guihan sings the lyrics like he’s reading the musings of someone who is in the middle of the terrible realization of things being irreparable and his phrasing is reminiscent of an Al Stewart or Robyn Hitchcock waxing heartbroken but staving off the darkest points of it by writing a song that blunts the pain through channeling it into a creative act that also captures well that moment when you’re ready to move on but you don’t want to let go. Listen to “Portrait in A” on Spotify, check out the rest of his recently released album Mise-en-scène on Bandcamp and connect with Ben Guihan at the links provided.
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