Video Premiere: Last Year’s Man “Spill the Light”

Here is the latest cinematic single from Last Year’s Man, the indie-folk musical project of multi-instrumentalist Tyler Fortier.  ‘Spill the Light’ is a beautifully-crafted song that takes us on a sonic and emotional journey.  Over an insistent rhythm, Fortier’s dreamy vocals and the atmospheric pedal steel and synths from Philippe Bronchtein (The War & Treaty) transport the listener up into the cosmos, elevated by a gorgeous melody.  Fortier’s wife and long-time collaborator Erin Flood Fortier also contributes her voice to really enhance the vocals.  Lyrically, the song is striking; it’s full of poetic imagery and phrasing: “The world is still sleeping // but when the dawn steals back the night // Search the tangles // of her mapless heart // and spill the light.”  Unsurprisingly, Tyler Fortier has a background in writing poetry and he uses his careful language choices to convey the beauty in darkness and the perspective it gives us.  Quite simply, we need the dark to fully comprehend the light.

Fortier explains the background to the song: “I went through a phase of binge watching ‘The Joy of Painting’ with Bob Ross. He would often say, ‘Don’t kill all your dark areas, you need them to show the light.’ That stuck in my head. From January 2022 to April 2022 I was writing poetry pretty much exclusively. I was reading every book and poet I could find at the time and wrote and wrote and then wrote some more. When I was looking at songs to finish this new album I kept going back to those poems and cherry picking ideas and eventually built some songs out of a handful of them. There is a poem called ‘The Painter’, partly inspired by Bob Ross which then partly inspired the song, ‘Spill the Light’.”  The lines of the intriguing poem and equally absorbing song lyrics are reproduced below – well worth reading as pieces of art in themselves, even without the music.  The result is a song that balances vulnerability and hopefulness and, as it builds, becoming something like a gentle hymn, we find ourselves balancing these emotions alongside Fortier.

For the accompanying video, footage has been carefully selected and edited together from the 1964 sci-fi film ‘Invaders From Space’, which provides some great visual surprises, such as dancing aliens, and glorious special effects from the golden age of cinema. Fortier describes how this was created: “I don’t remember what I searched for on but I stumbled upon a public domain sci-fi film called Invaders From Space. From Wikipedia: ‘The story involves the superhero Starman who is sent by the Emerald Planet to protect Earth from the Salamander Men of the planet Kulimon in the Moffit galaxy who plan to destroy Earth.’ It is magical. I could have edited together three or four different versions because there is so much wild footage. It has action, intrigue, slow motion dancing, and 1960’s special effects. What more do you need in a movie and also in a chopped together music video?”

As well as composing music for film and television, Fortier is an acclaimed producer, who has worked with outstanding artists like Anna Tivel and Jeffrey Martin.  Now, this song is taken from the forthcoming sophomore album ‘Time Is A Sparrow’, which is due for release on 18th November 2022.  We can expect more ethereal sounds and atmospheric sonic journeys on the new record.  In the meantime, check this out: gorgeous melodies, captivating music, emotive lyrics.  What more could we want?


‘The Painter’ – the poem that inspired the song

The painter paints
every angle of every dream
As the street lights start their hum
in the golden hour of autumn
The various hats
The compromise
The sharp little lines
she wears around her eyes
that tell stories of courtships and hardships
and the sunken ships
that live in the pit of her stomach
The wreckage she clung to
and salvaged for parts
and sometimes found treasures in
They are all colors
she uses to paint her masterpiece
She toils in the contrast
and walks the jagged edges
of burnt out neon
under dusked moonless skies
Out past where the beautiful things are
through the intricate tangles of her mapless heart
Don’t kill the dark
she would say
You need it to spill the light
All these beautiful things
that pull in the eye
would surely be a dismal sight
without the weight of their shadows

‘Spill the Light’ – lyrics

Hear the power lines
sizzle and crack
Watch the stars burn out
in the frozen sky

There’s a moon drawn like a picture
Holding the night
like a lover
Gone too soon

Don’t kill the dark
She would always say
As the weight of our shadows
bear more than we can take
The world is still sleeping
but when the dawn steals back the night
Search the tangles
of her mapless heart
and spill the light

There is love out there
full of thorns and at times it will cut you
and the wind will take a bite
but there’s beauty in the night

All these beautiful things
in the shadows
All the color in between
filling up our eyes

About Andrew Frolish 1474 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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