Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
You know those nights when you just can't quiet your mind, when there's no settling down? The thoughts are streaming through as if in fast forward, blasting the insides of your eyes like old-time flashbulbs popping and holding onto the whiteness, keeping you in the light, as if you never closed your eyes in the first place. Your heart is racing away from you, thumping like a dribbled basketball against your mattress or the hind leg of a doggie as it's being scratched behind its floppy ear. The prominent heartbeat thing forces you to squirm and tussle until you finally determine that there's no use, that you should just get up and do something other than try to sleep any longer.
It's nothing but a losing battle and you've been beaten from all angles and directions. You're now there to enjoy the hours that everyone else will have no recollection of. These kinds of nights get to us sporadically, once a month, sometimes more, but they're nearly unpredictable, hitting us when the cup tips and there's just no holding onto the stresses any longer. Something has to and did give.
All of these kinds of nights could be thrown into a drawer and closed shut, stuck in the dark, knocking against the captive wood like skittering and scared hallucinations, never to be returned to, if one were just to listen to Chicago's Desert Soap before lying one's head down to the pillow at night. You would have no trouble finding yourself with a light head, as if the smoke had been smoked for you or was in the process of burning right through you. You'd be at ease, able to tumble right off the edge of the table, falling headlong into that evening abyss that lasts for hours but never feels like more than minutes, a clear cut winner in defiance of perception.
Desert Soap songs make you feel as if you're brushing up against the feathers of big, fat, bushy birds, ones that are capable of hugging you back, and ones that are willing to share their nests with you, if you need a place to stay. They're like sugar cubes melting in your hot mouths, or inside your warm ears. They give us a new version of Bread that we never completely realized we'd been hoping for for the longest time, bringing us to that new version of old AM radio rock and roll. They are songs for the lazy days and songs from the soggy ones, able to be listened to in all sorts of states, all of which feel as if they should be taken in while in the reclined position on a hammock, with a leafy green canopy arched overhead, a Long Island iced tea in hand and the puffy clouds above looking like ice cream cones that, if leaned just a little bit more toward the ground, could actually be eaten.