Mon. 03/22 | TBA @ TBA
Mon. 03/22 | TBA @ TBA
Liberty and Lament—2/2/2010
When author Cormac McCarthy describes looking upon “paths of feral fire in the coagulate sands” in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road, he hit on what Glossary lead singer Joey Kneiser says is “the perfect image of longing.”
It sparked the title of Glossary’s sixth full-length album, Feral Fire, which includes a testifying batch of R&B and country tinged rock songs that explores the band’s dysfunctional relationships with time, religion, materialism, the universe and southern ideals. It’s that same longing, says Kneiser, that drives people to pursue the things they wouldn’t normally pursue.
“I think every human being feels like they are here to do something great, but they just don’t know what it is,” he says. “The record is really about trying to find out what that is… having this real longing fire.”
Mixing pedal steel and other traditional instrumentation with bending and crashing electric guitars, Glossary’s spirited, American rock & roll speaks loudly to those beyond the southern region—those who relate to the great communicators like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Otis Redding. Joey Kneiser’s cracked voice, complemented by Kelly Kneiser’s relaxed, creamy vocals, creates an everyman musical quality able to fit the passing night through a car window, or a rowdy beer swilling get-together. The group has shared the bill with everyone from southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers to the punk-spirited Against Me! and been embraced as musical family by their crowds.
Produced by Centro-matic drummer and recording guru Matt Pence, and released on sister band Lucero’s label, Liberty Lement, Feral Fire was recorded in ten days and encapsulates Glossary’s unremitting musical drive---one that involves playing and creating for the sake of simply playing and creating. In fact, the five-piece from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has been releasing records both independently and on labels for over a decade. In 2007, the band posted its previous record, The Better Angels of Our Nature, online free of charge to gratified fanfare.
Feral Fire sees a band full of “pop music junkies” (with a soft spot for both underground music and ’80s country radio) delving into multiple genres. The soul-soaked “Pretty Things” is a love song pointed at a materialistic girl coming to grips with her own identity, while the jaunty, rebellious “Save Your Money for the Weekend” chronicles a rough-and-ragged southerner pleading with a waning Christian girl to shed her inhibitions—kind of a southern version of Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young”. The latter includes the affectionately irreverent line, “All I know is southern girls are sweeter ‘cause they’re full of Jesus’ love,” and seems to resurrect the spirit of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott.
“Nowadays, we definitely want the songs to have some sort of groove to them… or swing a little more,” says Kneiser. “Really, we just try to just work the song. Nobody plays more than they should. It’s more like ‘how can we serve the song?’”
Other album highlights include “Hope and Peril” (sang by Todd Beene), a split narrative about two souls’ parallel battles with restlessness, which features all the active, acoustic guitar pep of a Lindsey Buckingham cut, and “Through the Screen Door,” a wandering swan song with an open terrain of perfectly placed guitar crescendos wired around a deep pounding bass line al la Kim Deal.
In the album’s raucous lead-off track, “Lonely is a Town,” Kneiser’s lyrics take a more supernatural route, almost questioning the idea of where the body and the soul meet.
Lonely is a town
On a night like this
Where the city moans like a neon sign
Just flickering to try and stay lit
And the moon looks like a hole
Cut out of the sky
And shining through is a beacon of light
Somewhere from the other side
“It’s really just figuring out everything is so massive and you’re so small,” says Kneiser. “You live in this physical world and there are things you don’t understand and things you will probably never understand. Coming to terms with the fact that you just don’t have any control is pretty hard to accept.”
What’s evident though, is, despite life’s curveballs and passing landscapes, Glossary will continue to write thought-provoking Americana manifestos and shout them from its own unique southern pulpit. Much like in the anthemic track, “Bend with the Breeze,” Kneiser and the band seem to have adopted their own mantra.
“You can sit around and pine over bad things happening to you or you can stand-up,” says Kneiser. “I overheard an old southern woman say, ‘You just got to bend with the breeze. ‘ I thought, ‘Man, you better bend with the breeze or it will break you.’ Bad things are going to happen…it’s inevitable. But, what are you going to do? You still got to wake up in the morning.”
Bingham Barnes (bass)
Todd Beene (pedal steel, guitar, vocals)
Eric Giles (drums)
Joey Kneiser (vocals and guitar)
Kelly Kneiser (vocals, percussion)
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