Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's nothing that's going to help a person when they get into the predicaments like the ones that Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant of the New York duo She Keeps Bees put their characters in. There's no rope that can be lowered into the canyon, or the gorge, or over the cliff, or into the quicksand that they will be able to grab onto and have a savior or a friend pull them slowly back to safety. There's not much that's going to work.
They're just going to have to fall as far down as they're going to go and get themselves back up to the summit on their own. The way down is going to be lined with thistles and prickers. It's going to be covered with jagged rocks, ready to break them like fresh eggs, like bread. The way down is a misery spreading. It's populated with people who have all the very best knives for backs. It's populated with people who are untrustworthy. They are going to reach out a hand and just at the second that you grab for it, they'll pull it back and you'll plunge onto those wicked rocks, never to be the same again. You'll be all spilled yolk and blood, battered on the ground. These dirty blues songs are evidence that we should keep our guards up at all times, for we can never be sure when we're going to be duped or double-crossed. It could literally happen any fucking second of any fucking day, so we should be ready for it.
These are those cautionary tales. Hell, there's even a song here, where it sounds like someone's father has pulled a number. Larrabee sings, "I'm still your daughter/I'm still your daughter/See me," right after getting through repeatedly telling him that she doesn't believe him. He sounds like he's really outdone himself this time, bringing the entire family down to his level and still there's a part of the daughter that wants that rope lowered down. Short and tidy, even in their crunchy ways, these She Keeps Bees songs are not going to tell us that the rope breaks, but we get the sense that it might.