Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
There's a lot of gristle in the meat of the love stories that Denver, Colorado, band Churchill writes. There are all these parts of contention, aspects that cause one to pause, as they're being thought about. Are they or are they not healthy? Is that the way it's supposed to be? They are moments of gambling, of hunches and assumptions. There are all these parts that you'd like to just carve away from the good stuff and spit out into the wastebasket.
Some of the people involved are weak and they know it. It doesn't mean that changing is an option or even worth doing. They are set and all of the hope for change, from the one they're with, isn't going to do much good. They find that they're involved with someone who can't count or purge all that they have under their skin. It brings annoyance and it brings unhappiness, but there's not much to be done, as both people are fine taking some of the blame for all of it. The walls are caving in, but the senses are so altered that the home just feels more lived in, as if that's the accumulation of emotional clutter - it's all part of the gig. The people in the song, "We Used To Be Happy," seem to be going through two mid-life crises. They've gotten to an age where, if things aren't mostly clear by now, they'll never be. It's an age where you've got a crystal clear look at what you've become and what you're going to largely remain, aside from some serious reinvention and editing.
"The Surgeon" brings us the story of a pair of people who have - we think - settled into an understanding of what they're good for and what they're lousy at. They are sure that things could be better, but that's not a world that they've been gifted, or it's just not the world that they're capable of. They have their limits, just as everyone does. They sing, "Honey, I've got problems and I always will," and if that isn't brutally honest enough for you, nothing ever will be. If that can be handled, you just might have something ultimately happy to recover from the wreckage - whether it's severe or minor.
These folks realize they're okay when they consider it all and determine that they really are committed to seeing whatever they have through. The man comments that he's with someone better than angel and it has nothing to do with her looks or the contents of her heart. It might have a little to do with that, sure, but she's better than an angel for her tolerance and her patience, for her willingness to stick it out through the aches and the pains. She might look like an angel, "But angels never had a choice to run away or accept the grace my baby needs." That's a bit like chewing on the gristle, wearing it down until it can just be swallowed. It's love and the other stuff - all theirs.