Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
We are standing with Lawsuits lead singer Brian Dale Allen Strouse, having a smoke outside in the pouring rain. The chill in the air makes you shiver some, in the song here titled, "Fine Quality," but that's what you get when you get a letter like the one that one he got on a day as gray as this one turned out to be. Everything is built around that universal feeling of getting socked right in the stomach and left to fend for yourself again, right when you were starting to think that maybe you wouldn't have to fend for yourself ever again. It's the feeling that comes to a man who misplaced his love one more time and is slowly getting to his feet, allowing himself to get washed out, just like his smokes. He's being drizzled on and still recognizes that he's deserving of it, so he's taking his lumps. The drizzle is for him and as the smoke mingles with the cold air, it seems to have more to say. It's heartier and it's deeper. It's coming out along with another kind of deadened air that was never supposed to see the light of day. It's more knowing and now given up with the ghost, but this only lasts for so long because there is always time for new air to be made and for it to work us over from the inside as well, like mice and rats, or like beer and joy.
One can allow themselves to be taken by the grips of sadness and disappointment, or one can laugh off the stupid dregs and just get along in the jolliest manner they possibly can. They can look at a tattered and rutty floor as needing improvement - a new gloss or finish - or see it as a spot that's witnessed and many a foot, many a shoe, many a hug, many a dance and a glide. It could be seen as a spot that's been abandoned and returned to so frequently that its highs and lows are often similar.
We can sense this equivalence in highs and lows in the songs of Philadelphia's Lawsuits, who toe the line between the poignant Dr. Dog-like moments from both the tarry and sunny guts, along with some emotions that are a bit bouncier and vibrant. They are moments that speak to beautiful resilience. They are moments filled with the mixture of a grumble and a beaming smile that could melt a reinforced bridge. They remind us of those mornings that we were pissed to have seen so much of - after seeing and being awake for so much of the evening before. Something woke us and, with that, we were up, scrambling slowly to some coffee. We didn't want to be up, but we were and somehow it all turned out to be grand. Something was reclaimed along the line. Some new vigor was found and everything wound up being alright - quite like we could have suspected it would wind up.