Pool Holograph’s new single, “Asleep in Spain”—premiering below—lulls forward with the hazy, drifting quality of a dreamstate, and that’s because it was written in one.
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“I started writing ‘Asleep in Spain’ while staying in Madrid a couple of years ago,” frontman Wyatt Grant tells American Songwriter over email. “My surroundings were gorgeously stark and utopian, although I was so jet-lagged and culturally offset that it felt like I was only half-existing, like in a kind of purgatory. It’s a lot about the senses, memory, and how our spirits react to this kind of dissociation and ‘elsewhere-ness.’ Merging this idea with the atmospheric romance of the city felt appropriate.”
Listening to the track, I can’t help but conjure an image of someone staring out a taxi or bus window as dawn breaks. The song seems to exist in that liminal zone between night and day: “A light in your head / And the voice in the alleyway / I’m still waiting for the ecstasy / to hit,” V.V. Lightbody’s Vivian McConnell lilts in the track. “Fell asleep in Spain / Out of my element / The signs are passing / On the long way down.”
“We were incredibly lucky to have Vivian perform on the track with us,” says Grant. “She’s a friend and a longtime inspiration to us—her musical sensibilities are rare in that they feel both fresh and timeless. The vitality of her voice was something I was admittedly trying to mimic in the song, so it felt perfect to collaborate with her.”
“Asleep in Spain” is the Chicago band’s fourth single of 2020 following “Mirror World,” “Life by the Power Plant,” and “Medieval Heart.” All four songs will appear on their forthcoming album Love Touched Time and Time Began to Sweat, which comes after 2017’s Transparent World and 2015’s Mortals.
Earlier this year, Pool Holograph—rounded out by Zachary Stuckman and Jacob and Paul Stolz—also shared Walking Down the Spiral Stairs. The bandcamp-only release includes “Demos, B-Sides, and Voice Memos from the last 5 years or so,” and its proceeds “will be donated to Assata’s Daughters, a grassroots intergenerational collective of radical Black women located in the city of Chicago.”
For V.V. Lightbody, “Asleep in Spain” comes after Make a Shrine or Burn It, her sophomore LP that arrived in May. A demo of one of the album’s singles, “Car Alarm,” also appeared on Ruination Record Co.’s So Many Singing, Vol. 2, a 2019 benefit compilation for the International Refugee Assistance Project.
“This charming little version of ‘Car Alarm’ is from a rehearsal we had at my flute player’s house before a stripped down V.V. show last year,” the Chicago musician said around the compilation’s release. “I often take voice memos at practices, and this version is a lot more gentle than the single version I released in June. I love how loose it is and how organic it is.”
“Asleep in Spain” displays a similar intimacy but with a darker, more languid edge. Check it out below.
Love Touched Time and Time Began to Sweat is out October 2. You can pre-order it here.