Words by Sean Moeller // Illustration by Johnnie Cluney // Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Go ahead and call me a loon if you'd like to, but there are days when we love our iPhones and all our little gizmos, we love that we can walk into a grocery store and before us is nearly every food imaginable, cooled or boxed and ready for us to eat after utilizing a little fire. We just love the simplicity of everything we have. We have it so easy and yet there are some days when it would be such a beautiful thing if we could go back to those times when candles were all we had and we had to fetch fresh water from the running stream, with buckets, and forget about any purification process before drinking it. It would be nice to see the way that places looked before they were splattered with the offensive and familiar signs of the places that we've trained ourselves to eat in. They are those golden arches, propped up against the most majestic mountain ranges, and the kill us just a little bit. We find them to be blasphemous, though we find ourselves shamefully calling on them when our stomaches grumble in places unknown - that known quality. It's hard to imagine places the way they were before the human race got its filthy mitts on them and trampled them to death. We'd love to go back and see what it was that those pioneers saw in them hills. We would love to see the looks on their faces when they struck gold or when they came around the bend near Treasure Island in San Francisco and saw that view for the first time. We'd love to have been able to look up at those mountains and not know how the fuck we were going to get over or through them. We wouldn't have wanted to actually have to find a way to do it, but the immense undertaking and the initial shock of it would have been exhilarating. The terrific Salt Lake City band, The Devil Whale, makes us feel as if we're out there amongst the great wilderness, with no idea about what's gonna happen next. We are drinking out of tin cups and ladles, we're wearing buffalo hides for coats and we're shooting and skinning bears to protect ourselves, sure, but also for the rug that's going to cover the floor of the den in our feeble wooden shack, in the middle of nowhere. Lead singer Brinton Jones has a singing style that brings to mind Jeff Tweedy doing Fleetwood Mac songs, or at least coming close to that mood and that place. He writes in a way that seems to tap into the complexities of what happens when we just want to have things flow evenly. We want the smell of fresh morning air and we want to have multi-course meals that we painstakingly prepared from food grown in our garden or raised with our own hands, for every meal we ever eat. We want to forget the chatter and the clatter and we want to be able to feel that we aren't going to have to run around ragged tomorrow, working 15 hours hustling, doing something that we may not even enjoy. It would be better to just throw everything away and just go somewhere untouched. We'd like to meet our family there, more so the family that Jones thinks we have when he sings, "Your mother was a mountain made of gold/And your father was an ocean." The Devil Whale gives us an ocean of gold and it all seems like it's whispering to us through the leaves on those petrified trees.