Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
When you only know another person - or three persons - for a few hours and through the songs that they"ve left behind and on record, you shouldn"t jump to any rash conclusions about the fabric of their being, the things that make them tick, and at the same time, it"s what rock journalism is essentially all about. We know very little about the people who write the songs and make the music and then assume the wildest and yet most plausible things about them with often misappropriated ideas or information. It"s kind of why so many people want to do it. There are always miles and miles of room for error and you"re allowed to just infer about love children and witch doctors and tying off. Nothing"s verifiable and everything is available for fodder - from haircuts to verb choices.
Right here, before your very eyes, we"ll go on one of those voyages with the quick and witty (or are they?) Brooklyn power trio Mobius Band. They"re accidentally destructive, breaking things with every quaking step and misstep. They write catchy piano-based songs about buildings that catch on fire across the street from where they live. And they come across as outsiders from Brooklyn, a part of the city, but more willing to offer condolences to those who take the place and its hectic, always revolving and spitting life too damn seriously. They seem both appalled and amazing by the millions of trajectories that can fire off at any given second, leaving one to develop a sarcastic and tough as gristle bulldog skin.
The music off of 2007"s Heaven is sublime in its numerous frames and get-ups. There"s the little dance party going on throughout the proceedings and there are the unclassifiable lyrics that pass as snippets from the working subconscious. There are lines that work as if they were spoken to the selected person they were directed to and then there are lines that feel as if they were the lines that were meant to have been said, but kept up in the vault all quiet and unassuming. It"s as if there are two conversations happening and thanking our lucky stars, both of them are signals that get picked up on. It"s a little like the way Craig Finn thinks, though it"s still much different than that. The gentle and often cheery synthesizer sounds that the guys wring out of the air are the most obvious indication that they aren"t going to get their pants into a bunch over the things they"re singing about. Most of the time, they"re just knuckleheads and jerk-offs - or pesky spice-eating squirrels - that can be laughed away, the chuckles trailing off through the city like the subway system.
These songs come at us as if they were the prime result of seeing through the facades, peering past the defense mechanisms, the emperor"s new clothes and just viewing way it is in all its glorified plainness. It"s a testament to people - Peter Sax, Ben Sterling and Noam Schatz -- who have dealt in the very businesses of bullshitting. They"ve been bullshit and they may have done some of it themselves, but all along, they realized it for what it actually was. There"s oblivion in there and there"s the very understanding of what can give you the most joy - obliviousness with complete and abject understanding of what makes it so. This goes for those squirrels, the guy talking about the holy ghost and all of the ladies in the world. It"s not a comprehensive list, but it"s a good start. To have that power of seeing through the mist and then presenting your findings as a delightful pan of Jell-O jigglers - aka the album Heaven -- is more than admirable.