Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
We're all very good at rhetorical answers to rhetorical questions. When someone asks us how everything's going, it's nearly impossible for us to return anything but the rote line that everything's good, or suggesting cheerfully that things aren't too bad at all. We can't complain, we say. Oh, sure we could. We could bellyache like a loon, but we won't complain because it only leads to hearing about someone else's problems, in addition to spilling your own. It all becomes some kind of empathetic tidal wave that will pull you into that cavernous legion of sadsack doom and that's nowhere good. We're both quick to think we've got it better than others and still sure that when things get bad, the depths of our despair is incomprehensible.
Legendary Florida band Less Than Jake has been chronicling the kind of suburban angst and depression in their own highly-energized way for decades now. It started when they were young men and surprisingly enough, they've been saddled with similar sentiments, just different problems as they've aged into fathers and husbands. They've explored the many cuts of anxiety and hard luck-short shrift-living for so long that they've almost no choice but to believe that there's not much that's going to be done about it. They and the people in their songs must simply grin and bear the grim realities that the days always, always, always lose their light and that it's always a bitch to get the ends to meet. Singer Chris Demakes sings, "I told you everybody loses sight of/All the how it's been and never was," on an older song, "Suburban Myths," and it sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to a minor caper gone wrong in Kevin Smith's "Clerks," or one of those just-like-every-other-day days that we all have too many of to count.