Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
It's with great consternation that this essay begins. It feels as if the day spent with Austin's A Faulty Chromosome was lost or one where my mind was boggled and bungling, just not working quite right. It's the only explanation. Or else it would have been wilder than it was. It would have been exuberant and wide-eyed. It would have been more appreciative of the kind of Gulf of Mexico, cantina-hypochondriac-completely-strange-and-warped storytelling and music that this band of enchanting goofballs makes in a way that looks almost broken, but on tape is bewilderingly quenching and happily weird in its insistences, in its drafty and wavy rhythms. The band, and this isn't meant as any kind of a knock or self-incrimination, is so much better than remembered and they were good in retrospect, or they wouldn't have been here in the first place, but revisiting the album and the session months later (as is happening), gives an entirely fresh perspective to an old appreciation. (Thinking about everything that might or could be said in the forthcoming lines and fictional graphs, none of it is meant without the utmost respect and good intentions, but who knows how any of it may sound). The group's made up four people in it for the fun and for the artsiness of it all and there's a wayward quality to all of the players that makes for a sense of instability, as if it's a band that you shouldn't grow to used to or fond of for it might not last. It has nothing to do with the band's music, for that's always the point of no concession, but it's an observation of hard times making up most of the times these days and people notoriously getting bent out of shape and fed up with being penniless and playing for the bar staff and a sticky, smelly floor. But more so for the quirky, quirky kids in A Faulty Chromosome, the sugar rushes and the current obsessions seem as if they could be forgotten about rather quickly and then POOF they're gone. Lead singer Eric Dalke has a way of sounding pleasingly chirpy, like a lazy hummingbird or a tranquilized one drooping and diving with his vowels and his consonants, almost like a combination of Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Alec Ounsworth. It doesn't come out as the words or thoughts of scrawny man, well, it sometimes comes out sounding as if they were translated through the voice of nervous uncertainty or questioning, but that could pertain to any frame of person. The band references being influenced by a water-damaged stack of Mister Rogers records and one asks, "There were a lot of these?" and then following it up with, "I get the water damaged part. That makes all of the sense in the world." And it somehow does, don't ask anyone why. The music sounds as if it's on the edge of the surf, a surf that never crashes, but just gently rocks and takes your body with it. It's music that feels as it could sweep you away in its swimmingly nondescript lack of tension that makes everything feel like a dancey buzz that's going to linger on and on for a while. It would be best if A Faulty Chromosome never let their quirkiness or the burden of being penniless keep them from being what this is.