A screeching across the frets—like nails down a chalkboard—runs through every chord change on the title track of Ur Real Life Dress, distracting from the opening lyric, “community college suicide.” There is no stronger image of failure. As the song continues, the screeching is not distracting but calling attention to the refrain that “I feel okay under ur real life, I feel okay under ur dress.” The dichotomy of feeling okay with your real, live existence versus the fleeting, lustful moments of escape, and how all these feelings are just as likely to weigh down on you as lift you up, is worthy of a second refrain. Listen to the second half of the track again. Can you pick out the muffled conversation in the background?
Ur Real Life Dress is an experiment conducted by Dmitri Giannopoulos in his home, without the usual support of bassist John Margaris or drummer Jamie Vadala-Doran. The sensitive experiment might easily have become tedious on a track like “Graveyard Harmony,” where Dmitri croons for the graveyard to slow down and asks whether it is really true Jesus will save him too. Any experiment becomes tedious when sensitivity is its only goal, but such criticism does not apply to this record. There are fewer than 150 words on this album. Out of four tracks, three have lyrics. Horse Jumper of Love make you believe you are plugged into a singer-songwriter through the nuanced ambiance that swirls across the tracks. This nuance is most upfront on an ephemeral track like “community college suicide.” Back on “Graveyard Harmony” Dmitri harmonizes with himself, giving religious credence to the evocative, pre-loaded lyrics pertaining to graveyards and Jesus. Horse Jumper of Love have been working on a new album at Hanging Horse Studio—be on the lookout for the results of their next experiment.