A lot of indie-rock acts play quiet songs. Much of the time it's a strategy used to convey thoughtfulness, spiritual depth and, of course, the gentle emotions of love in bloom. But indie acts also bring words into the equation, often I think because they distrust their ability to convey ideas with anything other than the human voice.
Cougar harbor no such fears. Aside from some sampled material, Cougar's fusions of prog, art music, rock and jazz is usually wordless, and that's true of the contemplative, lulling "Lifetime Ranger," from their heralded album Law.
From the deliquescent guitar harmonics that open the track to the light-but-insistent snare and cymbal work that precedes its final reflective coda, the music keeps shaping finer gradations of feeling. I haven't a clue about what's been written out and what's improvised on the spot, but Cougar's delicate use of dynamics and general understanding that songs can be about more than shifting mechanically between the verse, chorus and bridge are enormously refreshing. A gorgeous cut on a gorgeous album.
The MP3 of the track is available in the related downloads at right.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.