Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Koufax lead singer Robert Suchan is a smooth talker, a teller of tales that glisten with dirty secrets and aimless desires. He looks to the nightlife for much of his inspiration - out of regard and out of dismay that it's so able to contort and blur away people into fractions of themselves, even if only temporarily. The darkened streets and their darkened alleys all play up the darkened bar rooms, where people go to belong to the league of its leniency, where most things have every right to happen and there is nothing dodgy about it. It's a young person's game - all of the bar hopping, but it's not only youth being played, but the need to stay youthful and adventurous. Koufax's latest effort, Strugglers, is another glimpse into the "same old lies from the same reptiles" and the actions of people placing orders until they're not able to stand upright. "Drivers" is a song with a line that sums it all up, as Suchan sings, "A few more drinks and we're ready to drive," and the attitude of the men and women still slugging through relatively young lives is suddenly very clear. It's a feeling of not knowing your head from your buzz or not knowing where the time went, as stories about high school football and the delusion that you could get a piece from the cute co-eds in the bar, now 10 years younger and never glancing at the "old guy" saddled up to the bar, are all that those people know. These - and almost every song Suchan has ever written - are some of the most enlightening songs about the harsh realities of growing up, but perhaps a little slower than everyone else around you. He's writing songs from the perspective of the last friend of yours not married or settled into a home - still hopping between girlfriends every year or two having never thought about setting foot before a jeweler's case and living in a rental with thoughts that their music career was going to take off with the next self-recorded album. He writes from the perspective of the person who never says to himself or herself, "I know I'm not going to find the love of my life at a bar." They will find everything in like at the bar - and not in a Hold Steady, bashing along to the Springsteen and AC/DC-loaded jukebox way. He makes interesting aspersions about that life and at the same time, he's defending it as sometimes all that some people have going for themselves - this false hope that continuing down this path of beers ahoy and dingy, sticky night prowling is going to pay off in the long run. The run just gets longer and longer until there really is no end in sight and that's when it gets really depressing and people start to sound and look desperate. That's when the one for the road turns into three for the road and they reach home - barely - really wallowing in the quiet that is like soundproofing for their entire life. The bouncy indie rock poppiness of a Suchan song is always juxtaposed alongside the cryptic, though meaningful words to the wise or examples of the sorry and sorrowful. They take us into the nights in question and we're able to see all of the seedy and foolish developments as they play out. The nights are nasty and they're vulture-like, preying on those just looking to get something right, to find something worth holding onto. They usually just find themselves holding shakily onto some car keys, trying to start an ignition or lying awake and looking at a ceiling with a little spin happening to the room and a cold half of the bed to cozy with.
Koufax Official Site