His Hands Matched His Tongue
An emotional ballad riddled with hints of nostalgia, His Hands Matched His Tongue takes us back to Hunter’s story. We have a song that seems pretty straightforward, but looking closer at the material we have things get way more confusing. I don’t actually even know if I’m sure what’s going on here. Is this supernatural or not Casey? Stop confusing us. When we last left our hero, he was literally crying in a ditch after falling out of a tree. Isn’t childhood fun?
The graphic novel shows us a completely different interpretation of this song than anyone had guessed until it’s release. As Hunter cries, losing hope that he’ll ever see his mother again, a man helps him out of the hole. This man has blood on his hands and his pants. His hands are supposed to match his tongue, but I’m not seeing any blood there based on the visual novels depiction of him.
The visual novel then has the man guide Hunter home, only to disappear after Hunter invites him for food with his mother. There is a lot here to suggest that this is Hunter from the future. Either as an apparition, or a time-traveler, or from Hunter’s overactive imagination, I’m not really sure. A quote from Mr. Crescenzo during his Last Act tour, "There isn't anything fantastical or supernatural or science-fictiony in the stories. Everything is grounded in the real world, there's no magic or anything. Actually, the most fantasy thing in the story is probably that it's not at all historically accurate." So with that I’m going to assume it’s Hunter’s imagination until we get more information on the topic.
Into The Lyrics
A long walk home, riddled with regret
Uncommonly comfortable, but still I believe
That in time I think I’ll see just what’s been weighing down on me
An unearthy void, collapsed, exposing what was trapped
To release this serendipitous design
The smell of smoke, the evening sky was bruised
Belated conversation, saturate anticipation
For answers that simply won’t come
But not I, I won’t ask
Forget my place amongst the grass
The leaves and the trees remember me
And in my naivety it might be seen
The pale has leaks, and even if
You put all your water into it
You end up with nothing left to drink
The well has gone dry and I with it
Oh, someday she’ll be gone
We’ll still have her song to sing
Sing softly, bring me to the Lake
Hunter is thinking a lot about his life after falling into the trap. He wants to know more about life, about his mother, but is too afraid to ask. ‘An unearthy void, collapsed, exposing what was trapped - To release this serendipitous design’: an allegory for the trap he fell into, exposing Hunter’s main flaw in the Acts. He tends to bite off more than he can chew, and in the end the one who does the most damage to Hunter is himself. Him falling into the hole changes his perspective on life, as he’s faced with the consequences of his actions, and is forced to make more difficult decisions.
As they near the house by the Lake, Hunter is having a conversation with ‘himself’. The conversation is coming too late, he’s pent up his curiosity and is asking ‘himself’ questions that he won’t have answers to unless he does something about his interest in the unknown.
He is too afraid to ask his mother. He does not know what’s out there and that scares him. Someday she’ll be gone, and all Hunter will have his the memory of her, the Tree, and the Lake. The lullaby that she sang to him about their home was foreshadowed before, and it comes back as he thinks about his mother and her inevitable passing.
Into The Music
We get some bars of clean guitar in A major, playing I - ii - I - V - vi - IV - I with a pedal A string under the pattern. Casey starts singing, repeating the guitar pattern for the first half of the verse. After a few lines the guitar starts playing a different chord progression (ii7 - V) and gets more strict with the notes, grouping the high notes on the same beats and playing the bass note every beat. A keyboard comes in playing soft chords on this part. After this section, everything starts over into a second verse, now with the keyboard playing higher and louder accompanying notes. When we get to the second half of the verse playing the (ii7 - V) section again, a bass drum comes in hitting every beat with the guitars bass note. This later half of the verse gets repeated a few times as some of the instruments add more variation into their playing, and the vocals continue to build tension as he keeps repeating the melody. Backup vocals come in after a while singing to the beat and chords, with that ‘Bah bah bah’ singing that Casey loves so much. Eventually the music cuts out with a snare hit, and we get the keyboard moving us into the second half of the song.
Here the full band enters, and the guitars get some overdrive as well. The chords are the same as the one’s playing in the second half of the verses, with the bass playing the lower notes from before and the guitar strumming the same higher melody. The drums are kept pretty simple here, cymbals on the beat with kicks and snares thrown in to add flavor like Nick always does. The vocals here start with the band on the V chord singing ‘Oh, someday she’ll be gone’, but after a few repeats it switches to the ii7 chord being the lead of the phrase. Casey leads that vocal melody out with a held high note, as a group enters singing ‘We’ll Still have her song to sing’ on the ii7 chord. Again after more repeats, Casey comes back in over the backing vocals and starts ‘Sing softly, being me to the Lake’.
After each of those lines gets four repeats, the band cuts out as the ‘bah bah bah’ vocals come back in with keyboard. The bass drum comes in again softly, and a new melody is sung over the other vocals. ‘Sing softly’ comes back in with some lower register backing vocals, and the kick exits again. The vocals all sing together and join in for a harmonized Bm7 for the word ‘Sing’, closing the song.
Okay this song is really beautiful and I’ll fight you if it’s not your favorite on the Act. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I will fight you depending on what yours is. There’s a lot of ambiguity story-wise here, and with the graphic novels’ release a lot of people were questioning this part of the story. Also if you haven’t seen the live version of Casey singing this in someone’s living room, you really should, because he sings a huge high note that looks really painful but also really emotional. I’m going to be making edits to the last few entries now that I have my copy of the graphic novel, but hopefully nothing too drastic to where you’d miss out by not reading them again. Feel free to add corrections or ask questions, and subscribe in the footer of the site for updates!