Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Invariably, the dreamy way that we think things are supposed to work takes a shredding. There"s an event or situation that goes to stand forth as the prime example of how not to count on the cream rising to the top or the fog lifting. Good guys tend to finish somewhere in the middle, like most people. There"s always some damn thing that backfires, with a huge plume of exhaust stinging our eyes and sending us into a maniacal coughing fit. Once we get cleaned up and back to breathing safe air, we"ve decided it would be best to alter our expectations. This means lowering them. OR, continuing on asking open-ended questions of no one in particular and expecting the law of averages - no matter how diabolical they seem to be - to amount to more give than take. New York musician Tim Williams, an unassuming man of such common nomenclature and stature - though he"s grown himself a proud and tight old man"s beard at such a ripe age, challenges those laws of averages to start paying out - to quit being the greedy mongers that they are more times than not. These don"t have to be jackpots, just nice little tokens to let you falsely or kindly assume that nature is potentially correctable.
There"s black dye in the waters of Williams" songs - where it"s always still safe to drink, but the impulse is to be questionable about it being potable. The lakes are murky. There"s no way to see the bottoms of them unless you live at those depths. You look into them and see the floating things of objects that have been before you. "Tape Your Head," one of the songs from Williams" 2007 Dovecote release When Work Is Done creates a world that feels as if it has a drop-off point, an outer edge to it that one can"t see coming, but it will just let you fall over the side of it and down to where efforts are no longer needed. The scene that his friend is building and writing is one that he or she will never get to see completed. The work will be done, the hay will be in the barn, but the kicker will only be experienced by those that you leave behind. There"s no better description of living in vain - never seeing what happens when it"s all that you do it for. What a royal kick in the eggs, that idea. It"s that thought of it all being worthless in a more romantic kind of way, when Slayer says it best with their eat shit and die mantras. The way most think it"s supposed to happen - they way we all do it - is that we plan for better times. We have starter homes, looking across the city at the pricey dwellings of the princes and the executives, along the beachy shores with the best views and say, "Someday, if we work hard and keep at it, we"ll be able to afford one of those and the triumphant life that is supposed to be unconditionally associated with something like that. It will one day be ours. We"ve just got to get through these lean times, dear."
The album is one that has decided not to have a nervous breakdown over anything - the spilled milk, the inevitability, the disclaimers that don"t hold anyone else responsible for its own misery. It"s an album that"s going to scream into pillows, but not very often. It gets by with pluck and persistence even if the reserves are low. There"s just so much curiosity coming from the losing side. Williams sings - ever so gently and ever so pleasantly - that he"d sung all the right things for you. It is a line that is punctuated with a period - a finish mark - on paper, but in the song, in his voice or the voice that he"s meant to be heard, there are questioning tone, the curly marks of inquiry, multiples. They beg for explanation and yet they do so in a reserved way as if confident that not knowing and not having are the point entirely.