Wednesday, February 4, 2015

where is my spaceship, mostly crocodile, 2015

Album Review

I'm a little disappointed in myself. I wanted to get this review done and posted yesterday. Instead, I went without posting at all. It was a busy day. It was kind of a crappy day. I was running around. And, during just about every free moment that I had, I was listening to where is my spaceship's mostly crocodile instead of writing about it.

I first came across where is my spaceship -- which, from a recording standpoint, is a mostly solo project by Hackensack's Josh Evensen -- when I stumbled on single and album-opener "snake juice anthem." The track is a burner -- "a fucking monster," as a friend of mine called it -- that sees Evensen killing off brain cells, numbing himself, dumbing himself down so that he can "maybe act like a human." It's got the passionate self-awareness of Titus Andronicus, and I can't help thinking that "love them and not just because we're empty" is a Pavement reference, which is always good.

"sad songs all night" continues the intensity, rolling in on kind of a Sonic Youth-y riff before Evensen begins working hard, post-breakup I think, to convince us and himself that things like sleep and giving a damn are for suckers. And he's not a sucker. Big finish: horns, guitar solo, and Evensen literally crying, "I don't care about you!!" somewhat less than convincingly.

Following the epic one-two punch of the opening tracks, mostly crocodile begins to reveal some of where is my spaceship's folk-punk leanings. Both "red shirt" and "it won't be forever" open with some very New Jersey-sounding big guitar chords, but trade the screaming intensity for some lower-key clever wordplay. Some of the record's themes -- not living up to your potential, trying to fit in, the numbing effect of the daily grind -- also start to take shape. Evensen sings, "I'm just a guy in a red shirt" rather than a hero like Captain Kirk or Superman. He consoles his friend Mabel who, initially, hates her job in a butcher shop, telling her, "It won't be forever." The "all day, every day" of the job eventually numbs her to the gore, wears her down; and she even starts to enjoy the sound of her cleaver.

On "lemon heart," Evensen admires the devil's ability to live for himself asking, "Won't you say a prayer for me? Help me to live my life the way I want." You get the sense that the catalog of activities on "anything" ("When I wake up in the morning, I feel like I can do anything.") like sitting at a desk until 5:30 and using his paycheck to buy beer and Taco Bell and cigarettes and sushi and a brand new pair of jeans aren't really the "anythings" that Evensen wants out of life.

The album closes with the quiet "roll away the stone" in which Evensen asks Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn to "Teach me to love the way that you love. Crucified sometimes, but not too hung up." My obsession with Craig Finn and the overt Catholic imagery in his songwriting is well-documented here; and that lyric just made me smirk. "I just want open arms," Evensen continues; and, when talking about his inability to shake off his "ghosts," he says, "No matter what I do, I can't roll away the stone." Ah... ...CCD.

mostly crocodile got me through the day yesterday. In between the some of the mind-numbing mundanities of making breakfasts, driving to school, listening on 2-hour conference calls with my head in my hands, I worked through some of my issues by air drumming like a maniac and singing along with someone who appears to share some of my worldview. Those are the albums that work best for me. The ones that grab me and make me say, simply, "Oh, yes."

mostly crocodile is due on February 21st. You can grab the "snake juice anthem" single right now at where is my spaceship's Bandcamp page.

where is my spaceship have a release show scheduled for February 22nd at the Oak Ale House in Maywood, NJ with Young Legs.

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