Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered and mastered by Sam Patlove
It seems that 1, 2, 3 singer Nic Snyder is hanging on by a thread at times. There are persistent fears bubbling in the young man and yet we also hear a bulletproof backbone in his words - coming out of him in a skewed, helium-pumped and quirkier take on the ways of Dylan. The Pittsburgh duo, which also consists of Josh Sickels, as made a debut full-length album that balances on the eccentricities of "Pet Sounds"-era Brian Wilson, when he didn't know what to make of himself and the great big world around him. There are a handful of songs that, while not necessarily sharing many if any musical similarities, share sentiments with "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and "I Know There's An Answer." The main protagonists are constantly fidgeting and fiddling with what they know to be true and what they are fuzzy about. They think they've found love and they're not sure how it's being reciprocated sometimes. They're mostly unsure about its lasting properties. They're unsure about the consistency of themselves, about how they're personally going to hold up under the general scrutiny of living from one day to the next and keeping everything working.
Snyder and Sickels sing like men who have been waiting for something to happen, for something to become clear from out of the murkiness. They can't make any definition of the magic lines and drifting boundaries, of those people who can't pin themselves down. "20,000 Blades" is a thesis song that goes about in its own way, but bringing in moments when we think about The Walkmen, Deer Tick and the Tallest Man On Earth, all while reminding us that there's a lot of non-caring out there. There are a lot of sad people, a lot of happy people and an abundance of people somewhere in between the valleys and the peaks. It's a song that sounds like a campfire song that could handle a thousand voices singing along with the chorus, arm-in-arm, flush with the feeling of community and togetherness, if only for the briefest amount of time. Snyder sings, "There never was a hole in my heart until I drilled it," and what he's suggesting is that we should check our chest and see if we've done the same thing. We might only have ourselves to blame for not feeling right in this world.