PATRICK SHIROISHI “烏の涙” C20 (American Damage)

烏の涙” translates to “Tears of the Eyebrows” according to Google Translate, but I’m sure we’re losing some nuance there. Not so with side A’s “子供の寂しさが聞こえるか?,” which runs through the algorithm at a healthy “Can You Hear the Loneliness of Your Child?” This is especially poignant nowadays with detained families at the U.S./Mexican who are separated from their children, and indeed the j-card of Shiroishi’s new tape on American Damage is emblazoned with “Let the migrant children go home to their families.” I couldn’t agree more. Rapidly fingerpicked acoustic guitar and spoken entreaties are balanced by restrained notes and whispers. Shiroishi is vigilant and ready to offer advice and assistance.

Like the A-side, side B’s “夢が消えちゃっても一人じゃない” translates pretty cleanly to “Even If Your Dream Has Disappeared, You Are Not Alone,” another ten-minute fingerpicked-guitar-and-vocal runthrough. Talk about a cutting-room-floor GY!BE title, though! It too connects with additional j-card text, here “Beyond Stone, Beyond Timeliness, Beats a Steady, Universal Heart.” Riding at times a more Morricone-esque vibe, Shiroishi ends the track delivering a heart-wrenching vocal, perhaps a message of hope to anyone the track is intended for. As such, it closes the powerful 烏の涙 on a glowing note.