Photo: Garret Grove

Grouper finds romance in hidden places on “Ode to the Blue”

Following on from the recently shared “Unclean Mind”, Liz Harris aka Grouper has given us another teaser of her upcoming album Shade, with a song called “Ode to the Blue”.

Once again it finds her working on guitar, the tape hiss and tactility of her plucked strings making us feel like we’re a fly on the wall as she works through her feelings – especially as she seems to zone out and stumble towards the song’s final moments. A decent proportion of her words are shockingly clear, and “Out of the Blue” seems to be a love song, as she quietly sings about trying to follow her partner’s mind into unknown crevices. While plenty is lost in the haze of the recording, her voice and the audible words are enough to conjure a delicate bubble of romance – it feels like a privilege to tiptoe inside it.

The video for “Ode to the Blue” harnesses the romantic aspect, with director Dicky Bahto saying:

Liz sent me a love song in the middle of the worst part of the pandemic in Los Angeles to think about making a film for. I was depressed and scared and felt incapable of thinking. She mentioned picturing people kissing; and “maybe something in a graveyard.” I wanted to see my friends. I wanted to feel intimacy again. I thought: what if the film is just people making out in graveyards?

In Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights I found myself surrounded by graves for people who, like my own grandparents, had survived the Armenian and Assyrian genocide a little over a hundred years ago. After a year of fear over the pandemic, growing support for right-wing authoritarianism, and the escalating climate crisis—with a popular narrative that we’re living through the end of the world—I needed the reminder that the end of the world is always happening somewhere, and even if we don’t survive the end of our world, we might as well enjoy the pleasures of love. Watching my friends kiss was a hot, fresh breath direct from their mouths that made me feel a joy I hadn’t experienced in far too long.

Watch the clip below.

Grouper’s Shade comes out on October 22 through kranky (pre-order on Bandcamp).