Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
If you set your mind to escaping from Austin, Texas, just getting outside the city and out into the hills and prairies that surround just about any city in the grand state of leather and boots and the cattle they come from, you can do it fairly quickly. It just depends on what time of the day you're trying to get away, but once you do break out, it's one of those wonders, for as far as the hungry eye can see. It's a buffet of roaming space and it's where a man can just get enveloped into his thoughts or vice versa. It's out and amongst these lonely contours and valleys that it feels like The Black guides us, out to these areas that are independently wealthy with the ingredients of longing's longevity. The Austin band actively pursues songs that feel as if they've been whipped raw a bit, as if they've been branded by a sad little experience or two that have left them dizzy with uncertainty. The Black earns its frequent comparisons to The Byrds, via the "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" era through its dusty, but not too dusty, country-ish songs that get the blood pumping as loving just tans their hides. They are victims of pretty girls in their proximity and to the flimsiness of their feeble hearts, which buckle and fold, falling prey to the batting of eyes, to the sweet perfume smells, to the way an ass moves in a walk in boots and tight blue jeans, to a slight grin. It's all enough to turn a man into a hopeless romantic-turned-hopeless-insomniac.
The Black lead singer David Longoria doesn't sing like a man feeling sorry for himself because of the woesome complexities of love, but like a man who's familiar with the pains that it all brings and with that, he stokes up the fire, kicks off his shoes, throws a TV dinner into the microwave and cracks open a can of cheap beer to deal with it all. It has a feeling of the disappointments getting the best of us, but not taking us down. They're just flesh wounds, easily licked and easily healed, even if they leave marks on our bodies and minds. The songs on the group's latest album, "Sun In The Day Moon At Night," are drips of salt that get into those wounds, but they come in grains that sting a little here and a little there, but never force the body to recoil or do something different, as far as positioning goes. The characters in the songs deal with their problems, as one sun comes, a moon arrives, the sun goes, and the moon follows suit when its time comes as well. It's not a complicated maneuver, but it's a survival mechanism, as Longoria sings, "Yesterday is dead and gone and now I am here," suggesting that there isn't much choice in getting from one day to the next. It's a shoulder shrug and the comprehension that, "Love don't need a reason, even if you want it to."