Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley at Echo Mountain in Asheville, N.C., during MoogFest week Oct. 2011
Pat Grossi can make the hair stand up on the backs of your neck and arms quicker than anyone else I know. From the second that he starts singing, if you were to look closely, you'd see that he does it to his own neck and arm hair as well. It's nearly impossible to keep the chills from rushing from wherever they hibernate within a body, to the points where they can make your light follicles stand at attention, like prairie dogs listening for danger.
What happens, when an Active Child song begins to play, is a little of the same, where there's a need to be highly alert, to have the ears and the guts pricked into keen sensory mode because there's a feeling abounding that many things are awry. The scenes that Grossi brings to musical life are those that are already very bloody and pulsating. They're the kinds of scenes where your heart has gone completely out of control and you can feel its beating as if it were the police banging on a door and telling whomever is on the other side to open up. He lights you completely up and you're more sensitive than you've ever been. Your skin has become hot to the touch and your cheeks are burning up. There's no telling what's going on here, other than you're feeling a bit strange. You're thinking about things that, as a man, you find that you rarely think about. You're suddenly taking stock of all the quieter issues that you've tended to toss aside and only worry about when they've boiled up and you're faced with an ultimatum. You're thinking that you're really happy to have decided to talk about all this stuff. It's feeling good to question how much love you're putting out there and just how much you're getting back, whether it's worth it, whether anyone else gives a shit about it and what the condition of it all is. Grossi finds that love and the heart are a wonderful currency. It's dependable in eliciting an authentic response, able to get wet tears and is always at work, finding new ways to torment or throw someone into a blender that can be easily mistaken as a joyride. Despite there being all kinds of insinuations that the feelings expressed in Active Child songs are mostly painful ones, they're only that way because of something pure and good gone rotten that came before. There's a lot of hanging on. There's a lot of sadness and whispering, whimpering, but really, we should all be so lucky.
Active Child Official Site