Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Are we or are we not patently bored, or perhaps just restrained by the boredom that we create in our likenesses? We craft our mannerisms and mechanisms to function specifically and responsibly, being so designed that they do not fluctuate or flutter much in their execution. They perform like clockwork and the sort of steady and predictable results that come of them make a regimented version of human nature that's nearly bulletproof and completely sick, depressing really. It is the modern man, dying from the inside out and teaching his children that this is the right way to do it. There is a proper and preferred way to belong to this world, to interact with it and as Adam Arcuragi suggests with his not alarmingly magnificent new album, "I Am Become Joy," those who at one time may have once had brains filled with empty spaces, intuition and magic, now are forced to want short-sighted personal gain, looking for and desiring more money, illusory prosperity and the kind of progress that's only needed for the judgment of others. It fills them, hollowly, with a sort of air weight that makes them feel stuffed, a popcorn sensation. And they act stuffed, as if the taxidermist has gotten to them like a spider in their sleep, but instead of leaving mysterious and itchy red welts scattered on their body, they wake to find none of their insides, the embalming fluid smell pungent and their mouth locked into an expression that screams surprised action. Their hearts have been petrified into rocky wood and their eyes are glassed. They are no longer dreamers and, to be quite official, they've been in that state for a while now. Arcuragi has such a way of harvesting the chattering teeth, the colder than ice and fear sweats and the jittery nerves, all of which convey an uneasiness and a mild form of desperation - of time slipping like honey through their fingers, only some of the residue does manage to hang onto their hands, just enough to lick and taste slightly. For some, that's enough and it's all they feel they're entitled to. They've got the basic essentials covered and they've got that job security that's so coveted these days. But there's no fulfillment, no transcendence. Wanting more of the right things, Arcuragi would argue in his thoughtful and poetic lyrics, should not be discouraged. It's just that many wouldn't be able to explain what the right things are, given that opportunity or forced to opine. The best song of many best songs on the record, "We Steal People's Medicine (Don't We?)," is a ballad that Arcuragi notes deals with these conflicts and their nexuses. It's a calm and even-handed look at the waywardness that we're cooked to believe in as the smarter man's way of operation, but Arcuragi plays the devil's advocate to great persuasion and leaves us with a resounding and stinging Pinch that doesn't fade away so quickly. He sings, "The old man stays up playing and singing/To prepare us for darkness outside… If it's true and hell has better music, then can the devil really be all that bad?...Do you think that the Lord will be sore with our smilin' if he knows how and especially why?" It hurts us to hear, as a suggestion that we're striving for the wrong things, coming from someone who sounds as if he's lined his soul with all of the living parts that it needs, all of the small glories that will sustain it through all kinds of winds and downpours.
Adam Arcuragi Official Site
High Two Records