Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The concept of a working title is that of giving some sort of language, some phrase to a film or recording to differentiate it from being some nameless composition that lacks any handles or ways of shorthanded-ly calling it to attention. Working titles typically are scrapped once something worth a damn or not an inside joke/off-the-cuff comment comes along. This usually happens when it's time to be serious and it's time to stop messing around because, now, others are going to be involved, watching and listening. Working titles are flirtations, passing fancies. Joel T. Hamilton of the former band The Working Title, seems to understand this very well. Applied to the music that Hamilton made under that name, the idea of knowing that most things are not at all worth their weight in gold, or that they will go through a change that will devalue them to a point of no return. They will fall apart and become something other before you even know it. He might even be willing to admit that the term "relationship" is the best example of a working title that there is out there. It embodies the entire premise of something that shouldn't be taken as anything more than a transient feeling or a fleeting mood. It can change in a hurry and oftentimes does change in a hurry. It transforms overnight into a bygone episode, of past tense passion. The songs that Hamilton wrote and put on the last Working Title record, "Bone Island," are ripe with sound examples of just what's not so sound in the hearts of most. Love or whatever resembles it leads some characters to the brink and has them looking down over the edge, with who knows what kinds of thoughts surging through their heads. Even with all of the confliction, all of the unsure footing, Hamilton urges - almost unanimously - to "choose love," even if the tendency is going to be for it to crumble away. The people in Working Title songs aren't helpless, but they are powerless against the lure of what the heart decides for itself, where it wants to drag a body. It leads to precarious situations and tight spots that inevitably cause them to crash into mental walls and take to howling up at the moon. Hamilton sings on the song, "You Should Know," "Oh, the burning inside/Don't tell me it's all in my head," giving us the bitterest and sweetest tastes of just what it's like, just what happens when those loves flip, when there's no way they're working any longer.