Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
A song like the one that the Kopecky Family Band recorded on its first session called, "Angry Eyes," makes you think back to one of those days when you've got a lot of things going on in your head and no damn good way to sort any of it out. It reminds you of one of those days - either in the middle of the winter or late in the fall when you see a v-shaped gaggle of geese traveling the wrong way in the sky above you. If it's late fall, this would mean that the geese are flying northward, up toward Canada, a place that they're going to regret for a number of months if they carry through with the plan. If it's the middle of winter, this could mean that something's going horribly wrong - the weather doesn't feel at all like winter yet, something's off - and the geese have sunk into a form of madness that's left their cognitive thinking skills even more dulled than they usually are and they've cut their season in the sun short by a few months. They're off to wait out the rest of the winter in misery.
Now, these examples aren't meant to suggest that what the Kopecky Family Band are leading us to feel with this song is unwarranted misery, but more the kind that we should have been smart enough to see coming, or smart enough, at least, to have dodged as it came straight for us. Much of it is the stuff that we brought on ourselves and - for that - there's not much sympathy. It could be why the song has such an interesting cross-section of moods. There's the more mellow and introspective verses that give way to these revved up choruses where nothing is still going right between these people, but you could have fooled us. Though the music sounds like the lights have just popped on and the whole room is now visible, there are parts to it that make you think that everything's getting intimate, even if most people who knew any better would discourage any of this from happening.
Gabe and Kelsey Kopecky sing thrillingly in unison, telling this tale of two people getting most everything wrong, but still doing it, never wavering. They're young and they tend to convince themselves that they don't know any better. They've convinced themselves that they should just keep seeing where all of this is heading, curious to see if it will wind up exactly where they fear it might. The waters are warm and they're wading in them, not feeling the temperatures get turned up slightly every few minutes.
Suddenly, the water is boiling and they don't feel the difference in the temperature even still. I've been told that this is how they keep lobsters from clambering out of the pots as they cook them. They don't even know that anything's wrong. They feel like the party's just begun and the discomfort is nothing to be alarmed by. Gabe and Kelsey sing on "Angry Eyes," "Don't walk so quickly to a slow beat/I'm made for holding you at arm's reach/Did I do something wrong?/You spent your winters in the northeast/That leaves you closer than you might think/So I can keep things calm/I saw the anger in her eyes/But no one wants to talk about it/It was a simple compromise/You keep pretending/Our happy ending/A little foolish for our time." It's against better judgment that any of this continues, but who gives a shit? It's just a little love and it's just a little foolishness that clings so nicely to harmonies and music that sounds this sweet.
*Essay originally published January, 2012