Better Vision

by Boy Rex

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about

After cutting his teeth in the long-dormant screamo outfits Merchant Ships and WIlliam Bonney, Jack Senff migrated to the Pacific Northwest to record The Bloodmonths, a lush, vulnerable exploration of his mental forest. Anchored by trumpet lines laid down by his father, his debut as Boy Rex exposed a writer as descriptive as he was inward-facing.

As The Bloodmonths’ follow-up and the project’s proper debut album, Better Vision flourishes in a change of scenery to approach human nature from a bolder, fully realized angle. Senff takes listeners to a different woods, one inhabited by oracles and psychics, passing time and aging. Senff’s metaphysical portraits — like the world painted on “Fortune Tellers” and the post-rock flirtation “Hey Moonlight” — get colored by full-band muscle (including his father’s trumpet) and Matt Riefler’s peerless, crystalline production, breathing universal life into these artful scenes. Chronicling the past year of his life and the uncertainty of what’s beyond them, Boy Rex’s first LP functions as a lens into Senff’s internal happenings and external surroundings. His sight can only improve from here.

credits

released May 19, 2017

Boy Rex is Jack Senff

The Players:
Patrick Quigley – drums
Scott Senff – trumpet
Kyle Wayne Luck – electric guitar, steel-string
Calvin Maloney – bass

Engineered, mixed, mastered, and produced by Matt Riefler at Digitracks Studio in Fort Wayne, IN

Artwork and layout by Em Randall

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Track Name: Gold in a Wishing Well
The sun's been coming down for a while now, and the sky is cracked, and though the warmth is gone I stretch my hands to get it back. But fear has made me small! and even on the tips of my toes I'm not tall enough to reach above the pale blue fence in the backyard, where I'm a child again looking through the posts at the clouds beyond the steeple, to sounds of birds singing songs like they don't know we're all doomed to die. I guess I've been gifted with the curse of better vision—I'm blind in both my eyes but I can see what I've been missing. While the sun's been coming down I've been throwing gold in a wishing well, wishing well, wishing I was tall again. Instead I should of warned the birds the music ends, that the curtain falls on everyone, and hindsight shows us everything. Let's sing it now.
Track Name: Year of the Witch
I can hear a heartbeat pounding over thunder/nobody believes in this spell that I'm under. Standing in the back of the crowd, I pretend I'm one of them. But they don't hear the sound. When I look over my shoulder I grow weak and I get colder and I know I'm being followed by a shadow meant to swallow up.... Then rain comes and the crowd moves on, past the sea of hands waving from the hill to the rows of chairs waiting to be filled and I'm anywhere but right here. Go forth and change the world? How am I do anything at all when I can barely move, when I can barely crawl, when I'm anywhere but right here? Let's celebrate the last four years and applaud our youth and wonder. But while everyone looks to the future, I'll stay stuck on this spell I'm under. And when I walk out across the stage, I smile and I wave. Let's celebrate the last four years! and applaud our youth and wonder. While everyone looks to the future, I'll stay stuck on this spell I'm under.
Track Name: Fortune Tellers
Hidden in the lines on the pink of my palm I've got a future shining, bright, if I could just stay calm long enough to read it right. To keep my thinking clear. But sometimes now my chest gets tight and I can't seem to hear when they say it's all just in my head. This strange idea I'm almost dead. There's something up with the leaves I'm finding at the bottom of my cup, but if I just dump them then I won't have to know what tomorrow might hold, or the life I could lead. It's easy to hide from the things you can't see. So I'll just dump them, and I won't have to know. I'll leave my fate up to luck, and if I draw the Hanged Man let's hope I can read it right. Keep my thinking clear. But sometimes now my chest gets tight and I can't seem to hear when they say it's all just in my head. This strange idea I'm almost dead. There's something up with the leaves I'm finding at the bottom of my cup, but if I just dump them then I won't have to know what tomorrow might hold, or the life I could lead. It's easy to hide from the things you can't see. So I'll just dump them, and I won't have to know. I can just guess where all my fortune telling friends want me to go.
Track Name: X Marks the Pact
Look back, follow the steps up to where they're flying. Down here it's nothing but skin, and the waves are crashing. The waves are crashing. I blink behind shaded eyes and try to find a way to say I'm still the same, I've just learned to adapt and I call it "age." Look back! Follow the years to where it all started. We flew then, in anger and youth, and we loved each other and believed in truth. We "held our heads high" in a reckless grab to understand why everyone was different, why everyone changed. X marks the pact--we swore we'd stay the same no matter if we stayed together. But then you find out you've can't stay sixteen forever. But you try you try you try you try to remember how to fly... and all I've done the last few months is try and try and try and try to hold on to the moment. The waves are crashing. The waves are crashing. I'm warm on a beach in San Diego trying to accept that the moments go, they slip away, away, away. The waves are crashing. The waves are crashing.
Track Name: James Taylor
There was a time I felt invincible. I was infinite, and free. I laughed and loved with abandon, I made the most of everything I'd been handed. From the neon lights of Tokyo, to the stars above New Buffalo. I laughed and loved with abandon. I made the most of everything I'd been handed. Ooh yeah, I wonder where that person went? Ooh yeah, I wonder if this is permanent? The blind devotion to a way of living. The scared subscription to a new religion. (There was a time I felt invincible. I was infinite, and free. I laughed and loved with abandon, I made the most of everything I'd been handed). Ooh yeah, the person I was would never stand for this. But ooh yeah, the person I'm now craves a permanence. The blind devotion to a way of living. It's a scared subscription to a new religion. But oh, I'm not so blind that I can't see what I've abandoned. It's a wonderful life I've been handed. Coming back home I see the truth: there's more than just what we've got to lose. There's still mystery in the magic, there's still glow to the lights. My mom would probably say it was Jesus Christ. Pray, then, I can feel invincible again.
Track Name: Beachglass
Sunlight spills through a window—dust above the bed shakes the dust out of my head and I'm back again. Back in time, back in mind, to a place I don't know how I got there. Then the dust settles on the bed, and all I'm left is sunlight in the reverie of the dark. It lingers, half remembered, I breathe... See I've collected sins like beachglass plucked from rougher sands. They exist as whispered secrets to remind me who I am, when I find myself off course, in wilder wood, teeth bared, howling loud, up to no good. All I have to do is reach inside and touch the glass against my fingertips—if I'm to die let it be with weighted pockets, half remembered. It's easy in a dream to lose your way, but there's hope you wake up in the morning and everything's the same it was before.
Track Name: Hey Moonlight/I Am the Fastest Runner
Hey Moonlight, keep shining. I know I've been hiding, but one of these days I'll come back out. I'll tell you what it's all about. Hey Moonlight, be patient. I've got fears and I'll face them, but it's harder than I thought it'd be. Won't you have a little faith in me....
Track Name: Fits + Starts
Slow, I fold, have you the heard the news? I found the bottom. The boy got better, then the witch came back. Now the witch has got him. "That's just the way it is." The way, the way! It's fractured marks that shift in fits and starts. It's never not messy when you fall apart. I'm closed in from the outside (I smile, and I wave...). There's teeth growing from the windowsill, and maybe they'll just cut me. Maybe they can kill. Woah oh oh, woah ohhhh. You never can be too safe/never can be too sure what's outside your window. I am at odds with the sunlight and the bullshit idea that I just need to relax. But that's the way it is. The way, the way! It's fractured marks that shift in fits and starts. It's not never not messy when you fall apart.
Track Name: World Pulse Festival 1999
And if I go tonight what do I leave behind? Does the Earth still turn even when you die? And is it "life" I'll find on the other side, or is it fool to hope for an other side? I haven't known god since I was still a boy, so I don't know what good it does to ask now. I wish it was simple as folded hands and the humility to ask for will I don't have. We go onto the night alone, and nobody knows what's next. Be it heaven or hell or the places that we tell ourselves are waiting in the end. For me it's the little house on Thomas Street with the yellow couch. But when I think about it I get overwhelmed, and I wrestle with the voices inside myself. But when I think about it I get overwhelmed.
Track Name: The Old Man Made Us
Take me back today to the rolling hills of May, to the narrow roads and fields filled with the greenest grass. Take me back to the quiet act of running away with the one you love. The Old Man made us on the crest, his face a blur of colored shapes watching on as I ask you to never leave. Take me back to the quiet act of running away with the one I love.
Track Name: Talk About
"I'm good." "I'm fine." "I'm...." I've learned to live with the hum of dissonance and friction from wishing it was different. I want to hear my name talked about + called from the highest peaks but I can't shake the themes I sing. I'm due to waste with time. And aren't we all! but I never planned for this, no, I never planned for this slow descent into madness. And I can't help but feel it's personal, the way the sun's come down. The way that life is now. But I'm good, I'm fine. I'm... I've learned to live. The hum undulates and I celebrate and yeah, I'm doing great. I want to hear my name talked about + called from the highest peaks. But I can't shake the themes I sing. I'm due to waste in time.
Track Name: Backyard Tree
Gold's pouring through the leaves at the end of the summer of the Backyard Tree. Gone are the mountains and the flowered days of spring. I'm waiting for the fall air, then the snow melt when the ground's bare and I can have some peace of mind that I made it out alive. I've never felt so scared. Oh, it's been a year. I was once a lion, and I roared so loud. Now my teeth are filed down "but that's all right." I got a taste of mortal blood, and I lost my footing and I lost my guts. It's a sense of definition, this curse of better vision. I've never felt so scared. Oh, it's been a year.