Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The good folks in New Orleans band Generationals make me feel like I'm wearing my boat shoes, even on the days when I'm not. Today's a day when they're on. It's raining outside - a terrible day for boats, but I (like most people who slip Sperrys over bare feet) never get on a boat anyway. It's just a feeling you get when you wear the kinds of attire that are meant to be worn on the dock, by the sand, underneath a pleasant and warm glow of yellow. The band is able to prolong a streak of perfect days, without doing much of anything, just being itself.
Led by songwriters Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, the group dares you to be too huffy or stuffy about anything. You listen and you feel like you're getting too much sun, but it's at the point where you are positive that it's not an objectionable amount. It turns somewhere in there though and it becomes more of the reddening and hallucinogenic brand of sunlight, when it becomes harmful. It's so easy to not see the damaging parts of the rays when you're only warm and toasty. You've got your sunglasses on - the arms and legs are bare, you're just there dangling them in the loving waters without a thing to stress about. But something's up. The waters are just moments away from starting to churn. The margarita glasses and the Corona bottles start to clatter and rattle, a disturbance bubbling up from below the surface.
For as much as Generationals music seems to be about carefree climates, it's without question that there are shadowy figures lurking in the background. There's a dark edge that creeps into the room with nearly every song, jangling the change in its pocket with its own rhythm, only allowing the easy vibes so much face time before a sucker punch or two. None of it is dangerous or too tough to deal with, it seems, just the appearances of enough wet rags to cloud the day over, even if just briefly. They sing, "When you wear your black sunglasses/Nobody could change your mind/You are up for the snitch of the century/Nobody could change your mind," and certainly a backstabber is nothing too serious when you're only talking about words, but it can blunt the feeling of a good day in a hurry, like the scratching of a needle on a record and then a sudden pause or stop. It's enough to make you sore, if the dancing and swinging hasn't done that already.
*Essay originally published March, 2012
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