Burnt Ivories & Dino Drama
from It's a Wonderful Life
It's a Wonderful Life was Mark Linkous' (Linkous's, Linkou's, Linkoususes...) first substance-free album after being pronounced medically dead for three minutes after a bad reaction. It's sprinkled throughout with collaborations and is a bit more bare-boned than his other albums, not tinged in the sprawling psychedelic colors of its predecessor Good Morning Spider (and I have to be honest, I prefer It's a Wonderful Life, but mostly for sentimental reasons,) it offers, I think, a series of more sharply focused images, or at least, more sharply focused than we're used to seeing from Mark. You don't see this set of songs through the almost impenetrable static and metaphor of his previous works, but like reflections in a mirror. The emotions are, I think, closer to the surface, but they still have to be deciphered.
I love Piano Fire. It's propulsive. With PJ Harvey pulling guest vocals, and Linkous's lyrics and his own vocals pushing her...
how do you feel? / how do you feel? / I can't seem to see through solid marble eyes // fiery pianos wash up on a foggy coast / squeaky old organs have given up the ghost / fire them up and kill the pianos / there's creaky old organs burning on the coast
I like the static, I like the snares, the hush flush rush of the music feels like surf, like walking through the sandy swirls of low waves, leaving you wanting to drag your feet a bit, the way the vocals drag almost in opposition of each other, but in the same step, not so much riffing, but adding tension.... You still hear all the crashing and sift through it for the salt, the whole song washed in waves. The lyrical refrence to the ocean fits the music SO well. I love this song.
from Things We Lost In The Fire
I wanted to find another song that gives the same sense of it being covered in a wash of something, or drowned in it... And it's got some good contrasting vocals in it as well, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are actually married. The bass beats are great, they feel like dinosaur stomps to me, big loomy echoes stomping all over it - which is why I like the title of the song. I love this album by Low, it's one I go back to over and over... someday I will do a decent review of it, but for now - there's the song.
You and your daughter / and your father / flew airplanes // You and your sister / can tell by the back of her hands // It was a dinosaur act / dinosaur act // After expenses / and pulling up fences / no more airplanes // And putting your foot down / a nail shot up like a bright red snowflake // Just like a dinosaur act / dinosaur act