Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, CA
Days subside into a hoarseness of early evening, sometimes. They get rolled right up into some portion of time that recollects and recalibrates itself. The night is the opposite of a rejoinder, just a soak to get the caked body salt off, or a little less thick. There are drinks to be had, subdued conversations to be instigated, dinners to be eaten and dessert to be considered later on - depending on how tight and round the belly feels. It's then when the muscles are the achiest and the feet are the most swollen. It's when you're feeling your neck scream with either the red gloss of a sun's eight-hour glare or with the wear of a day's worth of head-nodding, agreeing with the person who's signing your pay stubs every two weeks.
Toronto trio Elliott Brood brings this twilight of the night right into the parlor of our thoughts. When they play and sing, it's as if they're getting us to a place that was built specifically for the telling of the tales of callous and the wearing out of people who have been through more years and more pairs of shoes than they could ever possibly remember. They're proof that life goes on - with or without you, but usually with you because there's really not much choice to be had. You get dirty, you wash up and then you just go ahead and get dirty again - until the next time you wash up comes around. We sink ourselves into these cycles, where days inevitably become months and - as the process would suggest - the months become years, until they're all taken back.
The stories that lead singer/guitarist/banjo player Mark Sasso, guitarist/keyboardist Casey Laforet and percussionist Stephen Pitkin tell are those that seem to be very worn in, with holes in the knees and crow's feet denting at the corners of their eyes. They are the distinguished lives of those who have never had it too easy, those who keep plugging away, knowing that they're dying a little more every time they sleep off a bender, or a regular night. Laforet sings, "Youthful hearts get stretched along the road/Buried under all they've come to know," on "If I Get Old," and it's the feeling that you get, only after you've been around long enough to realize that everything remains difficult and ultimately puzzling for as long as you're around. Women never get solved and life never cruises. One can only hope, as the Brood does on "If I Get Old," singing, "If I get old/I'm living easy/Find a nice old country home/Let the land do what she wants to."