Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
You know what feels good some days? It's to feel like you're on the receiving end of a setback or two. It's to feel like everything is conspiring against you at the same time because then there's nowhere else to go but upward and the expectations are so damned low that you're bound to feel better soon enough. It's not like you want to be there, but it's exhilarating to know that you're about as low as it gets and if you've got enough guts and heart, you're surely not going to last long in that ditch.
Salt Lake City's Band of Annuals make music that could be commissioned by these moments of sunken spirits, of hanging on by a loose grip and a thin thread. The way that Jay Henderson sings about these hobbled people is the way a preacher accepts any stray members of the flock into the congregation.
He throws an arm around the shoulders of the sad man glued to a bottle of whiskey - and if it's not his whiskey, it's that of another man, wherever he can find replenishment. He throws an arm around the man trudging through the mud, the man visiting graveyards and beginning to think about sites in terms of which one he'd like to rest in. He chooses the one next to the towering oak tree so that he knows that - even in death, six feet down - he'll be shrouded in a nice blanket of shade for half of every day, keeping some nice, cool earth above him. He throws an arm around death - the one responsible for taking all of those members he's trying to guide and you almost wonder if the preacher asks for a quick end. You wonder if he whispers his own problem, borrowing one of Henderson's lines, saying, "Love is tough for me these days." You wonder if, even a man of faith, could become a tragic, sad-sack figure in a Band of Annuals song.