Daniel Hart, violin-toting member of St. Vincent, the Polyphonic Spree, and John Vanderslice’s band, has a new project – The Physics of Meaning. Combining his loves of classical music and the theater, Hart creates something of an indie-rock musical on Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight.
The Physics of Meaning touch on several different styles throughout the album, but the core of strings based around Hart’s violin provide a common string to tie it all together. Hart’s story-like lyrics weave a tale of a snake charmer and his doomed love, Victoria. Lead male and backing female vocals help bring the story to life instead of merely putting it in a third-person perspective.
Hart’s mastery of his craft shines through on the opening and closing tracks, the companion instrumental pieces “In Dreams, We Discover Ourselves, Broken and Yearning” and “In Dreams, We Return to Ourselves, Empty and Honest”. The former is a dramatic violin solo, and the latter a revisit of the theme with additional strings that builds into a beautifully striking sound.
Closer to the rock vein are “Around the Bend” and “Why Can’t We Fall In Love Forever? (Anything Is Possible)”. “Around the Bend” features beautiful female vocals playing off of Hart’s, accompanied by harp and with a melody and feeling that would not be out of place in a musical. The start of “Why Can’t We Fall…” has a soul sentiment, but the tune is all indie. The strings, propulsive drums, handclaps, and choir constitute perfection.