Commerce – The Things I Say Vs. The Things I Mean
Record Label: None
Release Date: November 2, 2010
When I reviewed Commerce’s 2009 release What Happens Now, I described it as “a superb, intricate record from beginning to end.” As expected, their latest follow-up The Things I Say Vs. The Things I Mean, is everything WHN was and more; vocalist Matthew Little sounds better than ever, the instrumentation is intricate, and the little bells and whistles add depth to the record, making the whole of this record progression. Just in time for fall and the upcoming winter weather, The Things I Say channels this time of year perfectly, as Commerce have crafted another elaborate record, only with more diversity in their sound this time around.
The main difference between the former and latter records is the song structure and stylistic means of the sound. The Things I Say breaches the gap between ambient pop tunes and soft indie rock numbers. The upbeat tracks add a new feel to Commerce’s sound (the guitar driven “About a Month Ago” and the later reflective “Leave A Key”). The opening “It Was Certain To Happen” is the pinnacle of this new sound, as picks up right where What Happens Now. When Little chants “I want to build you up, love / so I can tear you down”, a new aggression is reached not previously heard. On the other hand, the atmospheric soft tracks are where Little shines, as it’s at those points that Commerce are at their finest; the relaxed “The Same Time” and the completely touching “Missing Parts” prove the true omnipresent intricacy Commerce naturally convey with their music.
Lyrically, while Little may by no means be a lyrical genius or prodigy, it’s the simplistic nature of his words that hits home. Memorable lines such as “if you were an angel / I’d gladly listen to your boss / but I think you’re the devil” in the brutally honest “You Are The Devil” prove that albeit simple by nature, Little’s lyrics are all picturesque portrayals of candid nature. Musically, Tim Rufenacht’s soft guitar plucks set the mood of each track backed up Josh Shores’ mellow drum taps and beats, allowing each track to meld instrumentally around Little’s pliable vocals – evident on the soaring “Where We Are” and shining piano driven “Talking Trash.”
After narrowing forty songs down to these twelve, it’s clear that Commerce best wanted to communicate their eclectic nature through their myriad of sentiments heard through these tracks. The final two tracks fully exemplify the true passion the band has, as “Reckless Fool” and “Not Scary” clock in at over ten minutes of beauty. With the penultimate track allowing Little to shine and the ultimate track – a stripped down ending – being the most sincere and vulnerable track Commerce have written, it becomes prevalent that The Things I Say Vs. The Things I Mean is a sheer symbol of the hardships each member of Commerce have gone through in order to achieve this growth heard in just one year’s time. By way of this record, Commerce prove they’re here to stay – it’s that simple.