The Snake The Cross The Crown
Aug 7, 2007 - Daytrotter Studio, Rock Island, IL
- 1 Welcome to Daytrotter
- 2 Behold the River
- 3 A Brief Intermission
- 4 Cotton Teeth
- 5 Gypsy Melodies
Cotton Teeth Make Soft, Heyday Smiles
Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
One of the memories that I"ll never have - and maybe this is exactly what books and records are primarily for - is that of opening an old steamer trunk full of postcards and longer-formed correspondence between my parents and past loves or even to each other, better yet, pages from their parents sent to each other from wars and other periods of time when distance and circumstances had separated them unfairly from their everyday love.
These parcels, tied together with string or wrapped with rubber bands, don"t exist, for my forebears weren"t men or women of letters. One of my grandmothers clipped coupons. She kept a journal, of which I"ve read a few pages, but it was mostly about the banana bread she cooked that afternoon, nothing prose-like or sage, sadly. What I wouldn"t give for some old sheets of paper, covered in writing that"s been bleached right out of the white paper to the point that it"s the color of a light, light leather belt.
These words, that were never meant to sustain time by the decades, were of pressing, but passing order when they were first collected. They strike into the place where we keep the blind feelings, the things that we never think and the things that we never think to think. There are words out there that don"t make it. There are times and places that don"t survive from year-to-year, they just flit away like plumes of smoke or a leaf in a river that"s in a hurry.
There are reasons we have Civil War reenactments and reasons that people choose to wear period dress and speak with vernacular that better fits on the tongue of a man wearing a powdered wig or a women laced tightly into a bustier, hopping into a horse-drawn carriage set on course to the governor"s ball circa the turn of the last century.
This is where a band - this band comes in, when we have made a statement about all of these spectacular faraway things of olden, ghost town complexion. The Snake The Cross The Crown, a band that has proven not to take to Californian living, or the slick lifestyles of those trying to elbow their way to the front of the hipster lines, has already written and released two albums of perfection.
The perfection lies not just in their individuality and vision of what a song must do in order to cut it, but in the band"s innate ability to know itself and breathe a life lacking all frivolities and needless banter, and instead make it the kind that is timelessly important and which should make them examples of exactly how to pen songs that spawn other imaginations and span more than mere minute hands.
Cotton Teeth is a gripping disc that feels like a creaking porch, lit by the blueish glow of the electric bug zapper (the only bit of modernity allowed in this description) - a strong scent of freshly mown grass, the tear of blades lopping blades - and not another light to be seen in any direction, just stark silence that always makes you want to check behind you for something hunting.
It isn"t of these days or of the last days. It"s a record that"s been teleported - along with all of the Black Keys records - from somewhere deep in our memories or the memories of others that walked before us and called the land we rest upon nightly their land. Think of how many ghosts - friendly ones - are just floating and hovering around us as we speak to each other, think of all the people that have passed this way, through what is possibly your living room, before it was there and it would be staggering. It"s what The Snake The Cross The Crown do to the sane. They make such thoughts of the perverse connectedness of everything that"s come and gone overwhelming.
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