Sometimes the sentiment--cloaked in the abandonment of childhood wonderment with Florida after the state's 2000 electoral faults or the plight of Vizzini, the peasant from The Princess Bride--becomes overbearing, sung constantly in Hart's wry, semi-deadpan.
Its saving grace is its sincerity. He seems deeply troubled and not just in that banal, world-around-me way: Hart seems wrenched by the notion that he may not know the answers or that there may be no answers. Moving? Normalizing? Differing? Staying? No. The instrumentation--gorgeously captured by Bu Hanan producer Alex Lazara, a multi-instrumental/songwriting/vocal/beatmaking explorer who continues to make clever recording decisions better than most in the country--confirms the suspicion, moving between string-based orchestral beauty and electronically manifested turmoil. As with Ticonderoga (who, on record, forms part of The Physics of Meaning, along with Jason Fagg, Heather McEntire, Dale Baker and a host of others), form marries function.
That's a difficult feat, but--if The Physics of Meaning stands for anything--it's that there are no easy answers. As the album closes, a young brother and sister sing the outro, minutes after a sample of Hart's grandmother snaps off. Are they offering a newborn hope or the tragic perpetuation of hopelessness? Who knows? But at least it's a beginning.
The Physics of Meaning's CD release show happens at Local 506 on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 9:30 p.m. with Ticonderoga, Eyes to Space and The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers.