Flatsound is San Diego’s Mitch Welling. did everything feel beautiful when you let go of the idea of being anything at all is his latest album, an ambient-infused collection of bedroom pop songs which feel crafted from a material that’s personal and fragile and likely painful to extract.
After the short instrumental opener of ‘5/13’, ‘ferris bueller’ emerges sad and intimate, somehow managing to sound at once desolate and warm, like a hug in the middle of a desert. The track gets to the heart of did everything feel…’s themes, the crushing bind of panic disorders and agoraphobia and the struggle to exist as a vivid, 3D person when saddled with such labels. Here we find the narrator wanting to be free but eaten alive by anxiety, pleading for mercy, wanting to retreat into a safe world of entertainment.
“it never felt this hard to be inside of your car
i want to go out far, to anywhere you want.
but, is ferris bueller on?
because i could really use some distraction from everything”
‘you were a home that i wanted to grow up in’ sounds like late night thoughts externalised, imagined conversations where worries about pride do not exist and every word is the right one, and ‘you had a panic attack in my bathroom’ is slower and minimal, opening across its length into something hesitantly hopeful, finding solidarity in other people. “you can’t believe it’s true,” he sings, “there are people like you – with the same hearts, and the same marks on our bodies.” ‘nothing good comes from being gone’ is hushed to the point of whispers, sounding akin to Keaton Henson’s introverted folk, but surprisingly fierce in terms of lyrics. Here, the narrator faces up to his mental health issues with a steely determination, a willingness to fight.
“because nothing good comes from being gone.
i’m willing to admit it’s all my fault.
i will trade all of my pride for what i’ve lost.
i don’t want to lose this battle with my thoughts.
nothing good comes from being gone”
The album is great, and proves rewarding on several levels. Musically it holds up without any of the inspiration or back story, but its real strength lies in the good it could do for people struggling with similar issues. Welling has done something both brave and kind in releasing music based solely upon a theme so personal and difficult to communicate. And we should all be glad he did.
You can buy did everything feel beautiful when you let go of the idea of being anything at all now from the Flatsound Bandcamp page.