Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The Alcoholic Faith Mission puts a lot of faith in limits. There's much faith put into the extents that people stretch themselves, or are forced to stretch. They know exactly how bad things have been before and they know the levels to which they've stooped. They can sense that something's going to get them and they know when they need to experience that feeling of some unspeakable and invisible thing coming for them from behind. They know that, if all stays the same, they're safe, but one little wrinkle in the fabric turns everything into a mess of shakiness, something suddenly tipped off-kilter. The band of Danes make music that seems to come from the soul of a person with the guts of a gambler, with someone who doesn't really want there to be anything too obvious at play. There is an interesting desire to have the chances be up in the air. They would like the wolves to be after them, for the shadows to creep ever closer, with a silence that sounds like midnight at the graveyard or a sinister cantina filled with icy stares and leers. They are the moments when you're not sure what's coming next.
There is a delightful juxtaposition of happily ever after and nothing of the sorts on the group's latest album, "Ask Me This." The opening track, "Down From Here," is covered in the lushest of Beach Boys harmonies, circa the "Pet Sounds" era, and still, the sentiment is one of being down in the deepest pit that one's ever been in. It's about reaching the bottom and it's about not having any further to go, even if everything continues to go to seed. Even with that hovering feeling of more trouncing to come, the overall mood is one of stereotypical California sunshine. It's that spoonful of sugar that's often contaminated with dirt, little rocks and hair because the sugar's been dropped and scooped back up off the ground again. There's still no denying that the spoonful is still mostly exceptionally sweet, albeit grittier than would be preferable.