Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There seems to be a jumbly time in our lives when we feel like we might be on the wrong path, that we're under-performing or that people might expect more than we're delivering, that we're getting too old to be acting the way that we're still acting or that we're defining words differently, now that we have reached that age when we should tuck in our shirts and stop being so young. Most of these feelings should be taken with a grain of salt and most of these feelings are just projected half-feelings, only important to other people, but it is how it is and there's little we can do about it. Amy Hager and Jacob Mullis of Fort Wilson Riot wonder about these feelings, benchmarked by receding hairlines, wider hips and not getting carded anywhere for anything any longer. It might come with a strand of gray hair or fewer college boys turning around to check you out after passing them out in public. For whatever reason, the tables have turned and things are making more sense as you're making less sense of it all. It's a willingness to get rolled up into the knotty beat-down of the running clock, of the diminished returns, of being beyond what we thought we considered our primes. Fort Wilson Riot music touches on these ideas. It takes a brusque, bouncy and often whimsical tact to the thought of tides changing, of getting backed into corners, seeing how much our skin's aged since the last time we really looked at ourselves in the mirror. It's an objection to feeling the way you look as Mullis sings, "You break my heart every time you talk about acting your age," on the song "Take A Number," a song with a chorus that sounds as if it could accompany a dinner at a fine restaurant or the bouncing ponies of a merry-go-round. It's as if, at the end of it, that the principle characters are in their rooms breaking things, throwing things and revolting against the ropes and the chains, or the wrinkles and the sore joints. Hager and Mullis take us into the shadows of wherever they are, leading us down dark alleys before flipping on the lights and putting on a little vaudeville number that feels as if we're still going to be able to get away with however we choose to act, for as long as we want to get away with it.