Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
It's the last day of 2012, as this is being written. It's a day when all of us are about to topple over the cliff that they've been prattling on about for months and months. It feels anticlimactic. It's nothing like the cliff that we hear Matt Reilly and Ian Vanek falling over and careening down the rocky sides. It sounds like the makings of a bender or a string of benders. There's not much wailing involved with the fall. It's more binge drinking and chain-smoking, staring at a fish tank and thinking about all of the things that were suddenly, or not so suddenly, lost. The real son of a bitching thing about this cliff and its destructive effects is that you live to tell the tale. You get beaten up badly. You're smashed and gashed and you get to the bottom - if you ever do get to anything resembling a bottom - and you're left with the confounding thought of whether or not to stay down there and die off or get up and trudge back to where you started. Both are painful options.
Reilly and Vanek, the two members of the Brooklyn, New York, group Japanther write songs about people getting their asses and hearts handed to them in a messy paper bag. They write about relationships that have squandered themselves to a point where they were probably close to death anyway, but they're still things that are going to be mourned as if they were strong and healthy. They're going to be thought of as lovely and needed, but they were rotting, smelling gangrene for some time now, all out of detection. The guys in the songs you're about to hear here aren't pathetic, but they're in rough shape, turned to beggars, pleading for what they once had to come back to them, though there's no mention of anything needing to change. There's no thought given to how things came to be the way they wound up.
It was all so sudden and taken so blindsidedly. They're down in their basements stewing in their own depressed stink, drinking bottle after bottle of whatever's handy, "trying hard to drink myself to death." It's all they can think of to get back what they think they've lost - some piece of their little heaven. They're listening to old mixtapes and thinking about what isn't there. There's no snapping out of it. They've had their arms and ears ripped off in the fall. They're terrifically damaged and they're just going to try to mend themselves through sorrow and junk food. They sing, "I'm needing your breath whispering soft in my ear," but nowhere is their fallings and failings does it sound like they're going to get that soft whispering back anytime soon.