Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Leftover Cuties lead singer Shirli McAllen sings about the mountain that sits between a man and a woman, early in this session. It signals that there's a significant distance between the two people, that there's a wedge that can't just be circumvented. It can't be scaled easily and it can't be avoided. It is going to take some rigorous effort to get over or around that hulking chunk of rock. It's meant as an observation of the differences between men and women - not just these two characters - but, with the Los Angeles band's leisure, almost ragtime-y ways, this also feels as if it's a wonderful chore. It's filled with gamesmanship and with the pursuits of the happily delirious.
Connecting with that person on the other side of the mountain is not a lost cause. It's something that's attainable. That love affair is equivalent to completing a marathon - when a body has been taxed, but along the way and even after, it experienced all kinds of chemical releases to its pleasure centers, as things got more and more thrilling. It might have been what it was running for all along. It's in the finer print that the marathon is never over in these cases. There's always a 27th, 28th or 100th mile to complete and even then, the finish line tape never comes into view. There are more issues and hardships. Granted, there are more fish in the sea and that's where this mountain between two people becomes so fascinating.
The Leftover Cuties - which also includes bassist Austin Nicholsen, brass player/keyboardist Mike Bolger and drummer Stuart Johnson - create these stories that sound as if they're riding a nice tailwind, letting it push them along, rather than bucking a headwind. The people in these songs have set out to find sturdy love and they are well aware of the circumstances and the great odds. They're going to give the mountain a try and they figure, even if they only get halfway up, they'll have gotten out and had their fill of fresh air and nice weather.