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scud mountain boys - massachusetts

scud mountain boys - massachusetts (1996).

it seems like a year since i've even felt a thing.

This album has, over the 3 or 4 years I've owned it, become one of my guilty pleasures. I could listen to one of my many new purchases, which would require a bit of work to see if I like them or not, or on the other hand, I could just put this on and just relax. Since I've been running around all afternoon, I opted for comfort, and besides, I'd had the sightly subdued glass jaw stuck in my head, even after a day pumping my head full of all sorts of other music. I had to hear it again.

The whole circumstances of me buying this (my very first Joe Pernice-related album) are a bit fuzzy. I'd had the band's name in my head, but I don't remember where from. Nevertheless, I'd picked up the album in a second-hand shop in Malvern, and had a listen. penthouse in the woods was all I needed to hear to hand over the money, though. I know I'd heard this particular song before, probably on a mix-CD Chi gave my housemate (although I never found it again to confirm this theory). The mandolins, and the way it had a country-but-not-too-country feel about the whole song, made the difference to me at the time (I hadn't yet really "given in" to country music like I sort-of have nowadays, see).

The album opens with a track about a car crash, that's both wistful ("...it's so far away, please tell her, from my home...") and harrowing ("...I used to know the face, broken on the steering wheel..."), but the lazy guitars give the album a slow, sit-around-with-a-glass-of-whiskey kind of vibe, which is great when you're feeling sorry for yourself, and still good on other occasions.

Big hole starts with a name-check of an old american music club track, johnny mathis' feet, although the person/people doing the AMC tribute CD still couldn't manage to get a cover out of Joe, unfortunately.

There's a great paean to, er, foolishly exceeding one's alcohol tolerance in lift me up, which makes me think of a few occasions in my past (ahem...).

The centerpieces though, would probably have to be the more relationship-oriented songs, since Joe Pernice really knows how to convey that sense of loss, in such a direct manner - the first one, in a ditch (as mentioned above), grudge fuck ("i promise i'll sleep on the floor / i swear i'll never touch you / there could be no-one who'd ever touch you"), a ride, and the twangy but no less yearning holy ghost ("i'd tempt the Holy Ghost to have you by my side").

Later, when he sings "I could never leave you, Massachusetts" I think of a friend, who did, and wonder what she thinks of that particular song.

* 21:22 * music