Recess with Joe White

How much you can tolerate one thing (or one of anything for that matter) is inadequately emphasized.  The danger is in ignoring the overwhelming possibility (apart from the obvious; too much mayonnaise, ex-lovers, etc) you learn to overlook what actually is too much.  Conversely, you gloss over details that truly do not fit into anything (a general philosophy, schema, instruction manual, etc.)

This album works with us on this level because it feels very familiar.  The songs are pregnant with dialogic fun, massive zig-zags touching and hinting at jingles, R&B (in the glory days), nursery rhymes.  Behind one door rest The Residents.  The Grateful Dead are bearing down in a vestibule.  On the bed, the Beatles dream of Orchestral Pop.  It’s all here.  Alternately recorded in a friend of a friend’s basement, a high-school auditorium, a seriously legit penthouse.  You’ve heard it all before, that’s part of growing older and, more specifically, growing older at the turn of the century.

This record feels a lot like the Millenium did, as it encroached and gargled technology.  All in all the century produced All Of This and now is the time for it to come hurdling past busted megaphones and PVC tubes.  We, the adolescent body of the age, gazed northwards as a baby does a mobile.  We saw these different kinds of songs and dance that people made (and who were they?).  We saw them and we saw ourselves and the turn was rapid as a bowling ball is heavy and then BOOM.  The 19th century was over.

You have the songs assembled on this album, Cockfights, and perhaps you’ve heard something like them before.  The fact that they inhabit the same discrete space is altogether lacking in familiarity.  Why are they rubbing noses?  At the end of the day, what does any of this have to do with anything else?

So this album grows as an alter ego feeds, never satisfying but one personality and demand.  An ulterior as means to contain disparity.  Except this album also removes the alter ego that’s configured.  You are again left with incommensurate pieces, the sounds that unified an epoch have returned to preconception.  Now we don’t know what to do with them.  They aren’t going anywhere.

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