Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
There was a moment during last night's atrociously boring Oscars awards ceremony - actually two moments - that have relevance for a short dissertation of Californian band The Morning Benders. Both of the comments were pointed toward the capacity and the untold powers of its potential wellspring, of all the good that could burst from the tiny seeds needed to make it out and into the open. One was presented in a way that suggested that love has never been more complicated in all of history - as if these days of wireless technology and promiscuity that goes only lightly frowned upon were causing the basic human nature of finding a connection with another to become extraneously more difficult to accomplish. We've all evolved, so the presenter seemed to suggest, along with our possessions and hanging chad-like morals so greatly (or digressed so drastically) that a relationship with another person has become as challenging as splitting an atom or jumping the Rio Grande on a motorcycle. We've screwed it up. We've gone and caused the convulsions, caused the turbulence before there's even a bit of choppy wind to travel through. We're all starting behind three or four eight-balls on our paths to intimate happiness. As long as no one ever gives up wholly and completely on the idea of finding another person perfect and stunning for all time - despite knowing and seeing all of the countless flaws in that one - The Morning Benders will not only find inspiration for these bleach-blonde songs of salty air, beautiful reverb, and come-hither smiles followed by nervous blushings, but there will always be millions of people willing to hear them sing about young girls and the age-old temptations and urges that are meant to end more in life-long bonds, not just short-term romps. There are other bands and other songs meant for the short-term romp crowd. Though they're still very much young dudes and teetotalers from what a credible source tells us, these four guys are hoping for commitments and wholesome girlfriends to take home to their mothers and thinking not about whether or not certain girls have tongue rings or don't. Or so we'd think that's how they're thinking. The band's music is kind and sure and mature beyond its age, resorting not to previously adhered to disciplines, but to shuffling up the old standards of The Kinks and The Zombies and Lovin' Spoonful and dabbling them up with ideas of their own, showing their affinities, but also popping some wheelies of their own throughout the sugary pop meditations. Finding true love or a girl whose hand fits precisely into their own clammy hand is worth all of the aggravation and stammering, all of the sleepless nights. It would be worth dismissing all of the evidence and the abundant statistics of mortality rates for love and marriage. The other moment of note that still needs to be brought up is when A.R. Rahman accepted the Oscar for the best original song in a motion picture for one of his songs in "Slumdog Millionaire," by saying at the end of his speech, "My whole life, I've had the choice between hate and love. I've always chosen love and here I am." Though there is no direct relationship between Rahman and the Morning Benders - far from it - they easily could proceed through their lives, make dozens more record albums and find themselves somewhere, someday needing to give a little autobiography. They could perhaps use the same line and it would not be so out of place.