Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Feel the weight tugging at your thumb and your two middle fingers, the perfectly black and perfectly round bowling ball resting in your straining grip. It's been imprinted with a nickname of some former house bowler with a potbelly and a 240 average. It's been down the oiled up alleys a plentitude of times, sliding against the tiny wooden planks toward those ten waiting pins as decades of second-hand smoke still linger in the musty air. The solid bulk of that ball would feel great to throw through a car's windshield.
It would feel good to throw into the sun with such a wing and velocity that it would actually drill a hole through that fiery orange orb before it melted, giving the poor heater a bullet hole or a shiner. It would feel good to sling that ball over an airplane and then run it down on the other side, catching it before it touched the ground. It would be great to lift cars above your head, spinning them on your fingers like a leathery Spalding. It would be great to blow a storm back with a sigh or a sneeze, just denying it entry to your neighborhood through stubbornness and moxie. It would be great to arm wrestle moose and win. It would be greater to have been Paul Bunyan or Babe The Blue Ox, to have done what they did. Or Johnny Appleseed. Or Walt Disney, Jim Henson. Prior to sitting down in front of this word processing contraption and staring at the black and white keys that mean nothing unless you get serious about them in an orderly fashion, the car that got ridden in was playing something off of Joshua Tree and the first thing that always pops into the head when U2 plays did it again: "How does one go about getting so damned epic and how does one go about maintaining it throughout the time that one has here on the green, brown and blue?"
I find all of the above things epic. If you throw a bowling ball through a windshield, you're going to be memorialized forever as a faceless asshole. That's epic. If you plant apple trees, are a mythological lumberjack who enjoys flapjacks, have the stretch of lightning bolts and Zeus - those things will get you remembered for quite some time. There will be headlines, black and white newsprint will run dry crying out your exploits as if they were miraculous. For all anyone could tell, they would be miraculous. All told, they would slowly just become history or folklore. Bono and The Edge, they get more. For a big, big, big song, with a chorus deeper and wider than Lake Superior, we order accolades that exceed anything a miracle could induce. It's epic to the nth degree and even beyond that. Michigan's Mason Proper, a pack of young bucks, are in cahoots with these powerized ions and blends. How they occur in the natural world is mysterious and cryptic. Bono's not telling - not that he and his Irish posse have any exclusive rights to them. Even just in the time that they've written and released their Dovecote Records debut, There Is A Moth In Your Chest, the band has expanded considerably upon its already impressive and awe-inspiring grasp of the very intangibles that send pulses racing before they are even walking. The unreleased songs recorded here and the songs on their spectacular new EP Shorthand are longhanded, heavy on the kinds of trifles and bits that are what separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. They have tapped into that very specialness that adds sterling richness to songs without making them sag like sad peach trees loaded with huge fruit. The songs aren't harmed from their episodes of experiment and the hook after hook. Their lyrics have become abstract in flashes while maintaining plenty of rationale so as not to stray too far into the tangential left, the deep - though intriguing rough. They've planted the bear and they've hinted at insanity. They've created characters that make themselves seen like the ambitious paperback writers that they are. Carry on with your burgeoning epicness Mason Proper, carry on.
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