“Nowhere” is melodically beautiful, vocally enchanting, lyrically intelligent, and compositionally masterful. The single from Black Match is best appreciated by putting “Nowhere” on repeat play and shifting your listening focus to a different aspect after each play.
Black Match is the vocalist-songwriting duo of Hannah Kenny and Ian Kizanis in San Luis Obispo, California. Lyrically, “Nowhere” describes the mental and emotional distress of losing a beloved. It’s not new subject matter, but the treatment is fresh. In the first verse, there is an analogy of the relationship to nicotine – “Got ahold on me like, like nicotine, you’re running through my lungs and into my bloodstream.” It may not be healthy; clearly the withdrawal is difficult. Then, the existential puzzling enters with heartbeat bass percussion, “Are we all just in the, in the in-between, longing to be heard and longing to be seen.”
Moving the listening focus to the instruments shows that the original impression of “Nowhere” as a striped down single is flawed. Yes, the beginning is merely an acoustic guitar and the end is piano. But the “in-between” includes Shoegaze-like guitar that flutters in and creates an emotion-touching soundscape. And at 2:46 the instrumental support during the song’s chorus has a sophisticated intimacy.
Still, the vocals are what separate “Nowhere” from other songs we would place on our list of “Best of 2019.” The interplay between the voices of Hannah and Ian is enrapturing. Separately, each voice holds a charisma; together the voices are naturally balanced.