Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's a lengthy, panorama-like photograph hanging on the wall directly in front of me right now. It appears to be a shot of piece of Iowa forest, on the outer skirts of a larger gathering of trees, sometime in the late fall. They're just naked trees, gray and barky, a bath of quiet, brown fallen leaves hiding the ground, ready to cause a boisterous racket the second anyone should start traipsing across them. There is a stream of sunlight blazing through an opening, carefully hitting and heating up the leaves in certain spots and giving none of the warmth to most of the other spots. It's a photograph that's silent as it hangs there, but the stuttering of birds, the hustling of squirrels and scared as hell pheasants would be deafening in such a setting.
The setting seems only partially right for Brooklyn band, Chimneys to operate it. They could set up, off to the side of the scene, just off past one of the far borders and they could behave in such a way that the birds and the beasts wouldn't get any more skittish than they currently are, believing that they could be eaten at any second. They sing about "sniffing around the old countryside," and there's no telling what they're looking for, or if it's just the sniffing that's the end all. It could just be getting out into all that freshness, into that chill of the air, when the scent of critters and the call of the winter are out there in the breezes. There's a feeling that there are more unsavory persuasions at work though. Something doesn't feel right. Not everything seems to be what it appears to be.
This photograph on the wall feels the same way. It's like one of those paintings with the eyes that seem to follow you as you cross the room. The trees are just there, stationary, imprisoned there in the cooling black dirt, but you know that they're alive, something that you always forget. You get the sense that there's a conspiracy abounding with Chimneys music - soothing and sweet, but there ready to snap. It's been out with the hunting dogs, rolling around in the stuff it shouldn't be rolling around in, fucking around with the skunks, while slipping back for a nap, as if nothing's happened, as if it's been lying there all day and all night.