Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
The Eastern Conference Champions have discovered a way to preserve a mania. Usually known as temporary bouts of emotion and passion, a little bit of craziness and all kinds of pulsating blood, the mania that the band formerly of Buck's County, Pennsylvania and now of the land of the lost, or the manic, or the found, is one kind of like being fed shots all night by your friends, not keeping track of the time and realizing that sometimes the talk done in those conditions isn't so cheap. Sometimes getting things out there and on the wooden bar is good for everyone. It should be laid out and it should be examined, all of these thorny bed bugs that are keeping your mind roiling at night. It's nice to have a social setting, out with your buds, where you can get to the point where it becomes a free-for-all in the sharing and analysis categories.
The official video for the standout track on this year's "Speak-AHH" - "Bull In The Wild" - shows lead singer Joshua Ostrander, bassist Melissa Dougherty and drummer Greg Lyons alternating far ends of one long bar, at a place in LA called Barbara's. The camera pans from one end to the other between verses and choruses and you get a sense of some of the emotions that others in the bar are choosing to expose during the course of a few minutes time. Obviously, they knew that there was a camera filming everything, but without cameras, you'd mostly see the same sort of thing - this wild array of expressions and feelings, all captivating and genuine, all coming from the bottoms of hearts and tips of toes. These are people - especially those running their hands through hairy chest of a tubbier looking, open-shirted man - are being everything they've been holding in all day. They're more being themselves than they were in their apartments or houses, when they were getting ready, before they came here tonight. They were storing it, letting all of the mania just feel like normal, like nothing special.
Eastern Conference Champions bring with nearly every song on "Speak-AHH," a swell of sound that seems impossible for a trio, but the heft to all four components of their arsenal is staggeringly big and prominent. Even bigger is this of non-doom. It's this enlightenment of something that feels completely out of control and haywire, but is really just the collage of some of our involuntary mechanisms. It's the non-stop activity that makes our head spin. It's feeling like we can never hold eye contact with anyone, like we're always glancing off to other places, like our pupils were made of hummingbirds. It's getting caught up in all of it.
Ostrander sings of a dizzy design and of what comes, offering, "The busy of your eyes, to the side of a crease, on the edge of a smile, on the tips of the tongues of the youth in the night/All the kings and the queens and princes were right/I'm a bull in the wild on a midsummer night." It stakes a claim to the pregnant air and to us knocking a bunch of shit over to keep breathing it in, to keep feeling the irons on the fire, to keep getting burned up by all of the years and the issues left in us.