Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
A song such as H.D. Harmsen and the Electrophones' "Strawberries and Milk," is one of those short numbers that helps you put love into perspective. Well, it puts the love that you have in perspective. There's nothing that one could ever call common love. It would be impossible to find - a one size fits all version of the shit that can be applied liberally and every few hours so that its effects stay strong and everyone knows it's around, with the aroma being something of a combination of ointment and sunblock, with a tint of cocoa butter.
It's a thought that the Iowa musician on the vibrant label Maximum Ames Records offers in a way that treats the subject like the mediocre, but sensational and stimulating, multi-layered onion that we've come to understand very little and a whole lot about. The thing with love and onions is that many of the layers are almost exactly like the others aside from some very subtle, but particular differences. This song, which will make you forget how much you miss The Essex Green, shows us that compatibility comes in a miraculous number of forms. It always takes some nurturing and some baking time in the oven, but if it's going to turn out, it's going to turn out, and even then, some eggs are broken and there are soft spots and burned edges to be dealt with.
Harmsen sings, "All I need is a patch of weeds and a home," and he's convincing about it, making you believe that he believes it. If he just had someone around who would throw a blanket over his feet if he falls asleep on the couch, all would be well with the world. He'd return the favor if the tables were turned and there needn't be much more than that, really. He could even put up with deficiencies in the order, in what he thinks he needs. For instance, the story features a man and a woman pointing out that they didn't get what they asked for when they sing, "I want a partner for bridge/And I want someone to share a beer/Well, you don't drink and your bidding stinks/And you're here," but it doesn't matter. The grey snow is going to soon melt off of the warming ground and things will all seem better, even if they're not. They'll be happy with their non-bridge partner and non-drinker and they'll keep peeling that onion.
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