Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Bukowski had a way of writing about the darkest things that will get their claws into men. These are mostly the predictable things - those of women, love, the drink and addiction. They tend to take over before anyone ever recognizes them and soon enough your head's spinning and you're in a bad way. These are the sorts of things that everyone knows can cause the troubles that they cause. They are hazardous, most of the time, and yet they bring such great feelings when they are extraordinary, when they are something else than what's expected. We're usually sure of the outcomes, but we're interested to see which new directions and what new language they're going to use to get to those points. It all remains to be seen and we're riveted. We are on the edges of our seats, patiently awaiting the floor to drop out from below us and feel what the new fall is going to feel like, see how much alike and unalike it is to those we've known. Bukowski wrote often about life's ordinary agonies and how - while not anything you'd wish for - were at least identified and one could be ready for them, to brace for their appearance. These were the things that we were supposed to cope with in a better way, understanding that we were and always will be standing directly in their path. They aren't divergent and we tend to not be very mobile. There will be a collision. So we stand there and take our licks at the hands of the ordinary agonies and we do so in unaffected ways because, as he suggests, "There would always be enough of the other kind." These are those unseen, unordinary agonies that get us good, right in the guts, in the back and which tear pieces of us out of our hides.
Arkansas' Adam Faucett seems to deal with the ordinary agonies a bit differently. It's almost as if, because they're supposed to happen at some point - albeit when we're unaware, they deserve all of our attention. Even though they happen often, they are treated with the kind of care and attention you pay to a child's boo-boo, something that seems like a waste of time, something that didn't even break the skin, something that miraculously can be cured with a half-hearted, condescending kiss and a pat on the ass, with encouragement to get back out there and play. The lives are tough in Faucett's songs and the people are full of worries. They don't realize that these are the kinds of hardships that strike the balance, that bring the warmth into our souls when the greater portion of the storm has rampaged through. There are some tree limbs and debris to clean up around the yard, but more times then not, it's at that moment when the sky is at its most brilliant, or simply when you actually pay it attention, more to make sure that all of the evil is out of it for the time being. The ordinary agonies are not diminished and they aren't able to be handled more easily in the songs on Faucett's great new full-length, "More Like A Temple." He's "blown to bits in the backseat drinking" in "The Way You See It" and he admits, almost dejectedly, "Let's be honest, there's no age of innocence." He looks at a six-pack of crows and immediately sees them as his reflection, making those ordinary agonies something like a vision.