Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
It's an odd notion that a band might help you live longer, that there could be anything contained in what they do that might prolong your systems and vital signs, stretch them out so that you don't go down and dry out before you'd like to or when would be predicted. Brooklyn band Jones Street Station might not have any of these powers of supreme deities either, but there's a line of interest in its messages - the ones that come most alive on the harmonious and generally lovely and smart new full-length "In Verses" - that points to a knack for looking on the brighter side of life, even if that side is still shuttered by shadows and the obviously dragging aspects of life that cannot be dodged for the life of anyone. "Evergreen," on this record, as well as "Slow Lights," are examples of persistent needs to not get distraught or overwhelmed by any of the stuff that doesn't glimmer or sparkle, but to press oneself to remember that there bigger things to worry about. An episode of "Mad Men," that I recently watched comes to mind, with a similar nature to it. Don Draper's wife Betty is poorly dealing with a depression arrived at after discovering one of her husband's many infidelities and their housekeeper offers her wisdom, drawn from 20 years of marriage, saying that the best way to get rid of the feeling is to "splash some cold water on your face and go outside. You'll find that everything's still where you left it." Like it or not, things continue to move along despite personal struggles or failures. Jones Street Station's talented ensemble of players, songwriters and singers, use their skills with turning tight and insightful verse and make a sound that is all of warm country-folk and if there's anything that such a genre does is to always find new ways to talk about mortality and getting through it without losing all of your wits. "Slow Lights" features a protagonist being encountered by ghosts from his past in the dark after a show and succumbing to a certain sound and then begging for an old flame to help him again as he can't make it on his own. It's an insistence that some assistance would enhance the quality of life, something that could really keep you ticking for a little longer - wellness achieved. "Evergreen" is just a purely and incredibly beautiful song of love and growing old together, making all of the changes and degeneration tolerable. It seems almost desirable. It's remarked that "everyone slowly goes gray," but that gray really could last for quite some time. It doesn't mean the end and if that is what it's spelling, there are okay ways to ride it out. They sing, "Beauty will not save the world, but won't you walk with me, underneath the pine trees, promise that we can be evergreen," and it's believable.
Jones Street Station Official Site
Smith Street Records