You think you know someone. And then abruptly your mind is blown when they put forth an entirely different kind of creative output. This is precisely what artistic powerhouse couple Johnny What from avant-garde alt-pop band BRÅVES (a LADYGUNN favorite) and actress Christa B. Allen, who broke through in her 2004 role in 13 going on 30, have done via their new music project, Pour Vous, which has rendered both figures unrecognizable in the most exquisite, if not chilling way imaginable.
“We’re not having a baby, we’re having a band,” Johnny What explains. “Pour Vous is the perfect synthesis of the two of us. Christa has been acting for 15 years and thus really knows how to embody a character and explore emotions, which we put to use in our songwriting. She becomes the perspective we are writing from, and we find material there.” Allen adds, “Johnny has been producing music for 15 years, for every genre and type of artist imaginable. He is adroit at creating an environment conducive to easily accessing the subconscious, where all the best songs are hiding. Pour Vous is true to who we are as people.”
I’ve written previously that Johnny What’s band BRÅVES leaves me reeling every time I listen to them. But today LADYGUNN premieres “Sober,” a song which evicerates the heart and mind on a completely different level for those of us who have been hopelessly in love with and loyal to an addict–particularly one it would seem loves his or her proverbial bottle more than they do us. It would be trite to call Allen’s voice–set against What’s mournful, penetrating soundscape–breathy or pretty, although it certainly is both on this track. Perhaps a more appropriate characterization would be that she hauntingly chokes out lyrics that manage to be saturated with a palpable, gnawing fear and twinges of debilitating devotion despite their literal sparseness. And this ultimately leads to the question no one in these situations ever seems to be able to adequately answer: “Why can’t you love me/Like you love your drug…?”
“For me, this song was a long time coming. One of my most formative experiences in love was with a heroin addict,” says Allen. “It absolutely broke me, I couldn’t understand how he could prioritize drug use over our relationship. It took many years to understand why a person might make that choice. When one of my best friends recently got divorced, hearing his struggles with his partner’s drug use was very visceral for me, it brought those memories rushing back. ‘Sober’ was born of that pain.”
“I’m really proud of this song; it’s definitely one of our best,” remarks What. The melody over the chords feels timeless – when juxtaposed with the lyrical content it pulls you right in. I kept the production sparse to highlight the vocal. Christa was very emotional when we were writing and recording the song, I wanted to make sure we captured that and let it shine.”
“Sober” is a jarring, accurate portrait of a very specific kind of struggle; it amplifies the fact that the addicts of the world are not the only ones who suffer and break under the weight of their addiction, nor are they the only ones who never completely recover. Kudos to Pour Vous for a tackling this kind of devastation right out of the gate. Can’t wait to hear what comes next.
Special thanks to MadForMeLA by Mario de la Torre
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