The overflow is wearing me out. There’s a quantity of good shit flooding my conscious it’s hard to keep up -- even when the ultimate anti-punk gesture is gnawing at my toenails. The beach is heavy, the “kids” are away, and the summer proves even more daunting.
Andrew Graham and Jen Boyce, a hardcore Young Marble Giants in waiting, hang in the balance between derisory and mirth. In my mind the verdict’s still out on RTFO Bandwagon, the case was made more confusing when I finally heard the New Jack single on Dull Knife out of Houston. The fact that someone outside of the clique might pay for our somewhat rookie bullshit/Balkan campus jam is astounding. But I was pretty high on the RTFO’s first album Flagships, so high I melted over the songs till I saw them live for the first time, then, as Bruce Drennen might quip, “all bets were off.” I’m thinking they spent too much time inside writing songs together with Boone’s Farm than out at the club seeing how other “group sounds” do it, does it. Too many cardinal sins clogging up the stage -- like ball caps, shorts, ‘n tambourines.
With the “New Jack,” they've finally seen the half-life, fluorescent, light-bulb. Their trophy bong sat through hours of dorm-room Sabbath riffs on dummy repeat, and then the resin was extracted out with a rickety, acoustic ruckus. Graham’s the jug band of the hall, tired of some hippie outpost he’s linked to and rebelling into some “hard frolic.” Try not to wince at the dual, cutesy, vocals -- this recording is pure grit and grime, chiseling into the melody with the drill of “immediacy”. Not evil, but close, stoned to the point of answering all their existential riddles with the lyric “I Need a Head Like God.” How’s that for a solution?
Of course now there’s Richie Horseshit flaying along on incidental beats, long-hair Tom Wynn barely on bass (that’s metal hair, not mellow hair), and the aforementioned tambo-stylings of Tony Henley not particularly making a stink like the live show. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with fleshing out the band, it’s just not necessity. Graham and Boyce could rally the troops on a bleak street corner, busking with a kick drum and patchouli-drenched accoutrements at their feet, and still capture the same ramshackle energies as evidenced by their performance with Jerusalem and the Starbaskets a month or so ago. Strip them of a security blanket and the naked, nervous, chasteness enlightens any tune put forth.
This is more than apparent on “I Hate the City,” the doom-folk downer that inhabits the b-side. Here hits of sunshine try to peek through a glaze of organic abjectness only to be shot down by maudlin mood music. As long as the duo tinker and wobble in this closet of intimacy, with as much booty as their arms can handle, their future makes me itchy.