Southerly – Best Dressed and Expressionless

Best Dressed and Expressionless

There are very few albums in recent memory that have stopped me dead in my tracks. This is one of them. The first time I listened to the full-length follow up to the Expressionless EP, I was dumbfounded.

A concept album concerning the deaths of four close friends and family members of Krist Krueger, the man behind Southerly and Dharmakaya Music, Best Dressed and Expressionless manages to pinpoint the emotions that are involved in trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones. With strings, piano, and guitar, the album is bursting with creatively.

Not every song is mournful, but some of the gut-wrenching ones are those that deal with violent or self-inflicicted ends. “Melissa” is by far the most moving example of this: “Picking up the pieces of your life / like the shards of glass you fashioned as a knife / as crimson’s turning pink in this warm bath/pleading for forgiveness for this act.” The ability to process the death of someone close with such an eye for detail, imaginary or otherwise, and to take on the voice of someone who chooses to go is among the gifts Krueger has parlayed into one the most intelligently crafted songs I’ve ever heard. The chorus alone is enough to cement this sentiment: “You did it to yourself / you and no one else.”

Delivered via somewhat unconventional song structures (a la Expressionless) and unbelievably beautiful arrangements, every song is breathtaking. The resulting album is an impressive collection of poignant and moving stories, and one that suprises as much as it touches.

Note to incredulous readers: Seriously, Best Dressed and Expressionless moved me to tears.