November 8, 2013

Happy 10th Anniversary Mouthfuls

by

“In going over these songs to re-learn them for the ‘Mouthfuls’ shows, I was shocked with how quiet I sang them, how naive my playing was, and how slow everything sounds. These are all good things – I wish I could harness that kind of focused, quiet, naive energy again.”

Eric Johnson emailed me this after I sat in front of my computer, wondering what I could possibly say about this record that wasn’t said when it was released in 2003. In a moment that most writers should be ashamed to admit, I decided to maybe sneak in an interview to flesh out my unusually quiet mind. I wanted to steal his words, in order to talk about his words.

But when he responded to my questions, all of a sudden it hit me why I was quiet. Because the record called for it. It always has.

Youth is a war cry- a yell into the void, announcing trepid arrival into the world. It is the throwing of fresh voices to hear what bounces back, what resonates, and what we can be owned and what trembles away. But what we don’t think of often, what we forget as we tumble down the tick-tocking rabbit hole, is the hush of youth.

Mouthfuls is an exquisite, catchy, quiet plea. When I listened to it the first time, I missed that. It whispers secrets in your ear, murmurs treacherous things about love persisting and ending. Then it cleverly wraps all those Rumours era betrayals and hooks in gentleness, and lets them come to you when you’re ready.

It’s an album that respects the deep blue fear and exhilaration of the first time we turn the volume down to hear the voice right in front of us, the voice that is disappearing as they leave on a quiet morning. The hush  when two people touch each other and forego the world. The simmering anger and nervous bruising when the porch door finally swings shut.

It says what it means, and makes you deal with it. Asks you to be brave enough to handle it without  ornament.

Mouthfuls is naïve, yes. And so are you, and so am I, and that’s why it matters. When we scrape off the feedback and the bright lights and let the stillness take us back to when we weren’t so afraid of it.

Fruit Bats will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Mouthfuls at the Neptune on November 14th. Join me, join them; it’s an evening worth celebrating.

To celebrate its anniversary, Jealous Butcher is releasing the album on vinyl for the first time. Each album jacket has been individually watercolored and the vinyl is seafoam green (the color I think this record sounds like).

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