The Dove And The Wolf – “The Smell Of Us” (Stereogum Premiere)

When Paloma Gil and Lou Hayat — who make up the Philadelphia-based duo The Dove And The Wolf — went back home to France last fall in the midst of working on their debut album, they expected to only be there for a couple months while waiting on new work visas. But it ended up taking five months, during which time the Paris terrorists attacks occurred, before they were able to return stateside. That tense, listless period resulted in I Don’t Know What To Feel, a collection of songs that were written in the countryside over a period of three days right before leaving. The EP was recorded back in the US, and produced by Dave Hartley (The War On Drugs, Nightlands) and Nick Krill (The Spinto Band, Teen Men). “The Smell Of Us,” the lead single from the EP, captures the aimlessness of never really knowing how long you have left, whether it’s in a country waiting on a visa, in a relationship, or in life as a whole, a reality made all the more clear by the Paris attacks. “How can I let you go and still keep you close?” they sing. “I want you with me now.” Listen and read some words about the song from the band below.

‘The Smell of Us’ is about spending a night with someone, and knowing your relationship with that person will never be the same after it because all you have for certain is that moment, but wanting to give yourself to them as if your time together wasn’t so fragile. We wrote it after spending 5 months in Paris knowing that we could be moving back to the US any day, the moment we got the news our visas were accepted. And during this big gap of waiting, we met people, we felt things that didn’t want to be contained within such a finite box of time, and it might sound cheesy but we realized that we didn’t want to waste our time not following what we love—we have to just love each other, even if that’s going to be it. This song is about knowing that you can’t expect more from this person [you’re starting to fall for / or / you wish you could hold on to] because you can’t promise more than that night, but wanting to risk giving yourself to that night anyway, because feeling it is worth it.

It’s really about that duality. The duality of reality and fantasy? Of wanting to make the most of a moment, but also feeling strange nostalgia for a future within it that you’re not sure will have the chance to unfold. The sense of smell is very closely linked with memory and emotion, probably more so than any of our other senses. The smell of two bodies together—to us, it feels like nostalgia distilled to its original form.

I Don’t Know What To Feel is out 6/17. Their EP release show is at Johnny Brenda’s in Philly on 6/15.