If this review seems shorter than most, there’s a good reason for that. “away,” a new song by indie artist Lucas Stern, isn’t a particularly long listen. Clocking in at just 1:41, it reminds me of vocal tracks that flash by in films or games. It’s the one song you hear after a breakup with the main character and their partner. Maybe that’s what Lucas Stern was trying to accomplish with “away”: creating an atmospheric track that speaks from the heart.
We open on a fuzzy, ringing sort of percussion. The soundscape sounds far away, muffled, like you’re on the second floor of a dorm while a party is playing under you. Stern enters the track in sharper relief, softly singing over the gliding guitars that establish our melody. The song remains simple, and when Stern fades back, the rest of the instrumentation seems to clear up. There’s a lot of distortion on the melody between each of the vocal segments that when combined with the overall haze that “away” is going for, leads to this chill, dark, moody shoegaze piece. The lyrics are mournful and reminiscent. We’re looking back on something, moving away from it… and all of it coalesces into a powerful feeling in the listener. Stern sings with a wistful yearning of someone remembering their past, or perhaps as a cautionary observer looking into a moment.
Breathy, airy, and momentary, “away” over before you realize it. It doesn’t linger, but does wonderful work between Stern’s vocals and the driven guitar to establish this fleeting moment in the listener. I enjoy the track for that reason, rather than in spite of it: it is 1 minute and 41 seconds of a hazy moment in the past…
…and then it’s gone.