Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
This is where we wind up at the ends of certain nights. It's a place that is dim, with such music on in the background that could make us lose ourselves or it could just be the pitter patter that gives us our chill tonic for whatever is going to come next and on these particular nights, there's always something that's going to come up next. It's inevitable that there's going to be a second wind, something that gets you to get up and go out for some more or gets you to commit to the person you're going to share a bed and mattress with, maybe get slippery with, or slippery enough with to cause future problems and long, long phone conversations with a dot, dot, dot at the ends of all of them. The Nashville band, which consists of founders Bryan Carter and Jeremy Bullock and a cast of members, is responsible for putting us into the moments that are new -- really just young and fragile -- where the next word or the next move isn't even close to being completely or partially thought out yet, just up there in the ether. Characters are figuring these moves out as they go, held hostage by their choices, calculating with darting eyes there in the fading lights. They lick their lips and play it all out in their heads before there's anything really playing at all. Those lips and those skittering eyes, alight with something that could be confused for wonder, are interested in seeing what's deeper into the night, but like all of the unknown, there's also something very fearsome in there. Carter sings, "I don't want to be your last wish. I don't want to be your last kiss," on "Last Hit," and it poses an interesting idea that permeates on the band's debut EP "Futura." It's almost as if there's much desire and much restraint and recognition of the myriad of consequences that can come from so many things - from feelings getting the better of people mostly. Feelings and emotions are such cumbersome, dramatic concerns that rear their ugly heads as frequently as moles and cockroaches. It happens so often, even with the best of intentions, that there's reason to be petrified of their powers and that's exactly what Carter and Bullock are at times. The two and their band don't hold back the genuine feelings bursting into their music as it's miles from being heartless - the exact opposite actually - but the show their characters as being the sorts who are skeptical of what's going to happen when the good times that are working them over become other than what they are, turn into post-script or just what happened at the tail-end of last night. The music that Pico vs Island Trees gives us has that tropical feel to it, the sugar circling the rim of the glass, the cool vibes prominently littered throughout, but there is that presence of difficult times ahead - confrontations with real "disasters," where free fruit wedges, wine and cheese end and the lights come violently on at the end of the night to surprised bewilderment though everyone knows last call's already happened. Carter mentions that "tonight, I'm not in love" elsewhere on the album and that's just a ploy. It's insulting to the night. Of course he or whomever he's singing for is in love. It's the way it works. It's also part of the deal where we deny this sometimes. Pico vs Island Trees sums up our conflictions and allows us to dance to them as if it were the shiniest parts of the 1980s, when some of us didn't think about love, ever.