Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's a line that Rocky delivers to Anthony, at the roadside motel where the novice bandits are laying low until the dust settles, in Wes Anderson's "Bottle Rocket," where the young man has to disappoint. He tells Anthony that Inez won't be coming with him, that she doesn't love him and that he's trash - the Spanish equivalent of which, he says, doesn't sound as bad. Essentially, he's told that she can't just pack up and commit herself to some transient she just met because there's nothing more foolish than that, even if the fleeting affair could be more than that. There's this idea that real love couldn't be so fast, that it should surely take more time than just a few days of romping and skinny-dipping to determine if that feeling and that someone could be lasting and reliable. It's okay if we go on gut feelings about some things - occasionally love - but it's better to kick the tires a little bit. Or, that could all just be hair-brained. It could all just be too much thinking, so much that the spirit gets killed. It might just be that it's better to let the tendrils of suspense and fogginess stay right where they are. It might just be better if we remain unsure about what's really happening here, or even if things are just bucking all convention, doing the opposite of what was predicted.
We could damn and curse the weathermen, as The Lower 48 suggests at one point here, or we could just damn and curse those compasses that try to steer us way too often, that try to get us to concede when we would rather like to throw caution to the wind. The band from Portland, Oregon, makes us feel like we should be listening to the sea. We should press our ears more closely to our what-do-they-know hearts, giving them more of the benefit of the doubt than the brains and their nags.
Singers Ben Braden and Sarah Parson often sound like honeybees that have struck out into the cold to come to some sort of conclusion about the flickers and brief hopes that seem sweet and bitter. The elements blow onto them, tipping them, leaving them drenched, leaving them spinning, but they're closer to where they feel they need to be, it sounds on these tender nods to our disconcerting, but brilliantly flapping confidence. They sing, " The judgment of the damned will take your open hand," but there's more than just the damned that will come after your hands if you leave them open. This is what they're hoping for.
The Lower 48 Official Site