Glass Top Coffin Review | Suborderly

From Ramases in Felixstowe

Let me now try to listen to it for you. A desert island set in a warm blue sea turns out to be a refuge in the mind, the mind of the singer alone. In fear, of darkness, loneliness, cowardice, in fear, of both thought and intuition, we seek the tangential intimacy of a kiss. A majestic hymn implores sweet reason to come to the singer who otherwise is dogged by open questions of identity, knowledge, sexuality. Whispering over lazy, lush melodies, Ramases urges us to step into the river of life even though it is so cold. There are stepping stones to help us. A sailor’s golden galleon is anticipated to rescue the singer’s solitary soul, a soul who has lost judgment through distance: a dove flying high to whom all seas seem the same.

Ramases cannot solve the soul’s dilemmas of attachment and separation, even at the point of death and beyond. As a corpse, he wishes to still see his friends through a glass top coffin. He wants to still be there as best he can. He wants to linger. Even heaven has a glass roof, a beyond where his loved ones can be seen fleetingly, still, even in death, parted. Although the melody is gently rocking, this seems unutterably bleak to me. It is easy to miss this if you seek to assimilate Ramases to some conventional idea of the hippy-trippy. Most of his space imagery is about solitariness, separation, loss, vast expanses of very little, people who will not listen, whole planets that will burst like balloons. He calls for reason, humility, momentary intimacy, and for god’s return. I am sure not every listener hears Ramases this way but he seems to me to offer the thinnest of hopes through faith and through faith alone. Both albums end with an anticipation of god’s return. In the reprise of Golden Landing we hear: Beautiful light, you come to me.


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