After a sonic false start, of sorts, where the music begins, takes a pause, then begins again, Mawk Phoenix (aka Marc Dold) digs into this apocalyptic single, “Final Curtain Draw.” Phoenix is a Swiss-born former L.A. artists, who now creates music on a Mediterranean island. It is a song of warning about what many believe is an impending environmental catastrophe. It’s not all doom and gloom. Wait a minute, it’s actually ALL doom and gloom – but done well, nonetheless.
Phoenix has quite the music business resume, having worked with big named artists like Enya, Celine Dion, and Peter Gabriel in the past, as well as having made a noticeable footprint in the TV shows and film end of things. He points to artists like Air and Sting as influences, but one other influence in particular, Radiohead, appears to have had the biggest impact on this particular single. Over a quietly rumbling bass line and sadly strummed electric guitar, Phoenix gives this vocal his best Thom Yorke woebegone singing approach.
This could just as easily be a religious song, one that warns about the coming of The Messiah and the end of the world. And in a sense, climate activists can be seen as religious extremists to some extent. Toward the song’s end, Phoenix expresses the feeling that climate change prophets are like voices crying in the wilderness, at times. “We had so many cues, so many warning signs,” he alludes to prophecies. “But the convenience of the masses,” he sings next, aiming his anger at those not yet involved in protecting the environment, “Drown the voices of the few.” Interestingly, though, climate activists seem to actually be in the majority, as major corporations, Hollywood and many in the music business speak up and speak often about these environmental issues, and Earth Day, April 21 (which is near when this song is released) has become one of the most publicized days of the year. Yet Phoenix doesn’t believe people on the planet are doing nearly enough. We’re just too attached to our various conveniences, he believes.
Phoenix isn’t afraid to point a finger at himself and his part in the problem, either. “And I’m guilty like any other,” he admits. He also says that environmental change is a hard road. “It’s so much easier said than done,” he tells us.
Stylistically, some might call this track a dirge. It is—after all — slow, sad, and heartbreaking. However, it is a sound that perfectly matches Mawk Phoenix’s sentiment. He’s singing like it’s Earth’s funeral but hoping deep inside (one imagines) that he never actually needs to pronounce Mother Earth dead at the scene of the crime. Not surprisingly, Radiohead is also active in environmental causes, so Mawk Phoenix matches both that great band’s style and substance.
Whether you’re on board with Phoenix’s cause or not, it’s easy to appreciate his musical craftmanship with this single. He reaches right for your heart and doesn’t miss his mark. Let’s hope this song is but a nightmare and not a prophecy. Let’s hope, instead, it’s a heeded warning. Whatever happens, though, this is one fine piece of music.