Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
A guy hangs from the precipice of a hotel room, dangling precariously above an uncertain and frightening fall. It could be two or eight stories for the drop - longer even - and the gurgling butterflies in the stomach and the sheen of glittering sweat popping out all over his body is prominent and hard to conceal, not that anyone's thinking about trying to do so at that point. How the guy got there is important, but not as important as what's going to happen next. In that situation, at that point, what's going to happen next is what people are going to pay to hear, then as a freebie later on, they'll ask, "By the way, how'd the guy get there in the first place? I'm dying to know."
What we're going to give to that guy dangling on the ledge, far above the safe and soft ground below, is an inhuman ability to grip onto that rock overhang for as long as it takes - only he's not going to be informed of this extra-human power while he's there. He'll be able to hold on with his thick or bony fingers for as long as it takes for assistance though he's going to believe that he's only got a matter of minutes before all of the strength gets sucked out of them and the quick pummel and thud occur and he becomes the mess of jelly limbs on the pavement.
To make the predicament more potentially horrific is that at any moment, a set of vindictive shoes might click toward the man hanging for dear life and grind those soles into those red, white and aching fingers as if they were stuffing out the tail end of a cigarette. They might dig in so hard that they leave the fingers behind when the guy just can't take it any more and lets go. That person may never come. Another might come and just ask questions, but never offering to get him a rope or assistance.
Throw Me The Statue's Scott Reitherman makes the music for those uncertainties, those cumbersome altercations with the unnatural ways that ordinary interactions oftentimes place people in. Or maybe they're just the altercations that he himself gets into, those hot waters that start as the lukewarm pots that boil lobsters and frogs before they realize that death's struck - the burner turned up incrementally so the surprise never is let out of the bag. Seattleite Reitherman's gloriously structured, delightfully sadsacked pop songs are not those of a doomsday sayer, just a man who's had things fall on his toes so many times that he's learned to be more careful - but even that's not working so smashingly.
So he's got this guy dangling out over a dramatic fall, hanging on tightly for what surely will be a rescue in no time at all and yet he's got mattresses at the bottom, though they can't be seen from the air. They've been camouflaged down there so as not to give away any sorts of spoilers. He doesn't want for the bad things to happen and probably roots for the happy endings, the good guy that he is. It's just that he can't help himself. His experiences have taught him that most of the time, the guy's left dangling up there and none of those other factors come into play - they just form the scenario, the one that always seems to be possible. He sings in a manner that could itself light a table full of candles, the slowly spilling and rolling off the side of the molten wax, the effects of his carefully chosen words and the temperature of which his speaks.
On "About To Walk," a terrific song about difficult times, it has him talking "in a cannonball," with the splashing waters carrying well out of the pool and flecking all of the dry towels hanging on the fences, seemingly safe from the drink. He's masquerading with evening ghosts, singing, "Shame is always bathed in light and it always looks the same," and then giving it some dancing shoes that feel as if they could make most of the dark clouds scatter quickly off to the east, all of the damaging possibilities off to terrorize other people, other people hanging from the precipices of rooms, outside of windows - Reitherman's kind of people.
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