Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Here's betting that a lot of you saw Thom Yorke and Radiohead on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. One song turned out quite impressively and the other left a lot to be desired. The one that left a lot to be desired featured Yorke doing a lot of little guy dancing, the moves that he's likely culled from his surprise DJ gigs that seem to happen with some regularity out in Los Angeles. The moves were those of someone wired with the rhythms and the sounds of something that they were feeling almost exclusively. They had a little to do with "Lotus Flower," but not a whole lot. With odd twitches and swift and jerky movements, Yorke behaved as if he may have had Chicago band Distractions' song "Make A Move," running through his head. It could be a little of both, though the illogicality of it, we realize is enormous. It's far-fetched, but the song does all of the things that Yorke would have wanted for all of the things he was doing with his swollen eyes shut down tight. The song is a mostly instrumental piece encouraging the listener to move, but the voice of lead singer Tom Owens is not at all specific. The movements are to be of your own creation, but they might get inspired by the sounds that Distractions make throughout the song. It's an apt song for the month of October and what is on its way toward the end of the month. It's sort of like entering a hall of mirrors that's been untouched, un-gazed-into, shuttered in a ghost town. The glass is cracked across the corners and all that does is make for more of you. It increases the reflections of the spiders that have moved in. A repetitive bass line and a wait-and-see attitude on the drums consort with occasional three-part harmonies (there are frequently beautiful spots where Owens and gang sound like Ed Droste and Grizzly Bear) that never last too long and other moans that may well be the clatter coming from spirits bottled up in mason jars like fireflies - rapping from the inside to muffled disregard. Distractions turn anything you start to think about them on its head almost immediately after thinking it though. You've got the trapped ghosts on one hand and then suddenly, we're in a bluesy nightclub, sipping martinis with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., dressed to the nines and listening to " Ten Days," a song about falling madly for a woman for the short period of a little over a week and a half. It's as if we're walking through the pointillism of Georges Seurat's famous painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." It's immaculate, not a piece of litter on the ground and respectable people picnicking silently, purposefully. We're there too, walking our dog and feeling sorry for ourselves for the love that we lost, or the love that someone else lost. Sometimes Distractions makes us feel like we've lost it and others that make us feel as if someone's just thrown some logs on the fireplace, stoked a blazing one and cooked us dinner, all for no reason at all, other than they just care.
Two Syllable Records