Strawberries ripen in the spring. Or so they used to, in a more reliable world, one that seems to be rapidly receding in our collective rearview mirror. Presently, “spring” is a troubled concept — fraught with anxiety. Our seasons, if they are seasons at all, are paradoxical. Crops fail, or they ripen prematurely, all at once, and into a burst of rot. Impossibly, somehow, the supermarket shelves stay stocked (mostly, for now at least), and there are buckets of strawberries on every corner. But, of course, their nature is suspect. And they don’t taste like they used to. Or maybe that’s just ruinous nostalgia. But somewhere along the way we certainly lost something. Everybody knows. Strawberry Season (Leaving Records, November 9 2022) responds tenderly to this sorry state of affairs, not with false comfort — nor escapism. Rather, the album conveys, often wordlessly, that there remains an abundance of sweetness amidst our increasing unease. While much of twentieth century American popular and folk music may have dwelt on the beauty and plenitude of the prairie, More Eaze applies a similar Romantic focus to the small bursts of fecundity that now hide in plain sight. Blending found sound, generative music, a knack for elegant, classically-informed melodic arrangement, and a sort of Liz-Fraser-by-way-of-hyperpop approach to vocals, Strawberry Season offers unique solace — providing an occasion for the kind of deep listening that our overstimulated and undernourished spirits require if there is to be any hope at all (and of course there must be hope). More Eaze (serving as composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and sound artist) guides us incrementally to this locus of attentiveness. Strawberry Season begins with the softly sweeping gentle pets. Early intimations of Velvet Underground give way, indeed, to a string arrangement that John Cale might have saved for Paris 1919. The second track, Suped, features a kaleidoscopic swirl of grocery checkout scanners that eventually coalesce and release with the subtle strumming of a harp. On known, in the midst of a nearly elegiac outflow of feeling, a shower starts to run. Someone steps inside, pulling the curtain back, sending the plastic rings clattering. Moments later, the unmistakable sound of the showerer blowing their nose — an inclusion that is at once light-hearted and jarringly, movingly intimate. Strawberry Season’s second to last song, low resolution at santikos, serves as a sustained meditation on all that has come before it. Building slowly throughout its nine minutes, teetering, at times, on the edge of danceability, it dissipates suddenly, and Strawberry Season concludes with the rustling of clothes, snippets of distant conversation, creaking floorboards, an exhale and a sniff. There is a feeling of having arrived, of temporary reprieve in the face of uncertainty. A hint of a season yet to come, or one that is perhaps only now accessible in dreams.