Words by Sean Moeller // Illustration by Johnnie Cluney // Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
She's doing that. He's doing something other. That one's doing wrong and another is unaware that they're being done wrong. It's a mélange of inappropriate behavior, ultimately acknowledged as shit happening, but then again, it always does and it always will. This is where the Toronto band Zeus seems to have its head wrapped on its debut full-length, "Say Us," an album that's about love being robbed or love being schemed or abused and the softening of the offenses as we're always forced to put up with many of the transgressions or we'd just always wind up sad and lonely. There's more proof that no one's anywhere near perfect on "Say Us," than most records and there's even more indication that all of the imperfect bodies deserve one another. People are cheating left and right and never fully learning their lessons and then its all a matter of concealment, what can be kept from others and what can be leaked out as acceptable half-truth. In the end, there is real love somewhere in the quagmire, but it's disillusioned and sometimes so faded that there's not much good in it any more.
However, it's kept alive. It's sullied little heart is kept beating, connected to the life support machines that give it all of its lines and energy. There are more rotten women on the record - made by these four men who serve as the permanent backing back of Canadian troubadour Jason Collett and sometimes backing band of Bahamas - but the men take plenty of liberties with threats of getting even, cheating themselves right back to even. The women affect the men in ways that make their stomachs churn and they begin to think about revenge, the same way that Chinaski always sought to even the score in all of Bukowski's drunken, lover's revenge poems. One man in "The River By The Garden," sings, "My heart keeps breaking every morning and my eyes are sick of crying," and he thinks about how little consideration his cheating girl gave to the ability that she had to hurt, to maim, and yet he's giving all kinds of thought to the amount that he could in turn hurt her. He intends to and she won't see it coming.
Zeus creates music that feels as if it's taken from the bedroom and placed in a barroom, allowed to get a little liquored up and pretty soon the accusations and the heresy starts to fly. You start finding out about what rumors are true, who's sleeping with whom and who's most hurt, most affected by all of it. It's a no-holds-barred exploration of what happens when the naughty parts tingle and stray. People get caught up in the prickers and the barbed wire and they take their cuts and gashes, just dressing them or hiding them under long sleeves and pant legs when they get back from their recesses in the wilds, back to where they were supposed to be all along. They sing on "Marching Through Your Head," "You've been untrue to your own heart and it's been marching through your head," so it's obvious that it's all known wrongs and poor judgments, but there's just no getting around it. Our transgressions are our most lasting impressions.