Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Catherine Maldonado
The Deadly Syndrome is more of a complex. They've got it and you might be next. It's a way of thinking about life in a twisted, we're already dead way that conflicts with the ways in which we typically feel most alive. The songs on the band's debut long-player The Ortolan, named for an endangered bird mostly seen in Europe and eaten in France by diners with faces covered by towels, bring wolves into gardens and give ghosts starring roles. And they don't make the thoughts sound horrific. The ghosts are fashioned after Casper and the werewolves are probably just his pets. They aren't scary, they just exist. It's as if there's a secret desire to speed along the aging process, the decaying of muscle tone and flexibility, just to get to the jackpot at the end where they can hover over their grandchildren and maybe give them reason to have that weird feeling that someone's watching over them when they narrowly dodge that tree with a car on a foggy night. There's a vampire-like quality to the pall and to the vibrancy that covers and then sprouts up from the darkened walkways, spidering across the board. There's a connection made between ghosts and animals midway through the record, when Christopher Richard sings, "You became a ghost/It's not as hard as you'd supposed/We're animals wearing clothes," and the way he does so is reminiscent of the way one would imagine Win Butler singing it. It's music made of spooky crystals and prisms, grafting wild imagery and a stunning bleariness. The band's penchant for the unexpected turning of oddities is reflected in the following readings that cover so much ground, but is supremely represented in a reading of Toby Keith - referred to as Tobias King to reflect his prophetic powers - lyrics that refer to riding camels with one's old lady and fucking up the Taliban. That's Deadly Syndrome for ya.
Christopher Richard's reading - an excerpt from The Average American Male by Chad Kultge.
"A good friend of mine recommended this book to me. I think she thought I needed to lighten up and laugh a little. It worked. And as for the subject matter, there's nothing sad about it."
Jesse Hoy's reading - an except from The Tetherballs of Bougainville by Mark Leyner.
The Tetherballs of Bouganville is hilarious. A friend of mine shared this passage with me, so I thought I would share it with Daytrotter."
And a final reading is from both William Etling and Michael Hughes - the lyrics of "The Taliban Song" by Toby Keith, who they affectionately refer to as "Tobias Keith."
"Toby Keith's success embodies all the reasons for our impending failure."
(Will & Mike)
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