Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There is a man walking around in these American Wolf songs who has been advised that he needs to rest. He's beyond exhaustion, at a breaking point and he just needs to shut it down for a while to let the batteries recharge. The man could very well be lead singer Sal Plant. It could be an alter-ego, an interesting one at that - someone who has flown too close to the sun, who has let everything burn him out and turn him into a lump of old energy and dampened spirit. These are disturbed times, for the young man. He's already been through the ringer and he's waiting for the overcast to blow away, out of the area and for things to open back up, give off some rays of hope.
There's a sense that these are the inner thoughts of a werewolf - where any little irksome moment could set off the chain of events that will transform him from something domesticated and manageable, into something feral and capable of much harm, mostly to himself, all of which would send any kind of recovery process back a number of steps. The doctor places a hand on his head and "the pain did not grow any less." He didn't prescribe any medication, but instead suggested that there wasn't much he could do for him. The remedy was supposed to be something like the power of persuasion. "If I could just focus, focus, let it out," Plant sings, his troubles would be over and he'd no longer need all that rest, and he'd no longer be so exhausted.
There's more going on in the songs by this Chicago band than just weariness, however. There's a feeling of waiting, of anticipation, but it's not always for something good to happen. Maybe anticipating the bad takes up most of our anticipating anyway, but here there's an interesting gentleness to it. It's a punishing sort of gentleness, made up of dimmed lights and crippling beauty marks.
Plant's hushed vocals greet us with the line, "And I will hold you in feathers, waiting for death to arrive," at the start of "Muted Colors," and later we hear him singing about the feeling of hands wrapping around his throat. The air getting cut off, or the sensation of it, might be bringing on hallucinations, when he sings, "Oh my God, I've seen you divide." He could just be feeling that he's watching himself do such a thing and wouldn't dividing and viewing that splintering be about as exhausting as it gets?
American Wolf Official Site