Wednesday, December 24, 2008

19. Parts and Labor - Nowhere's Nigh

On one of my favorite albums of the year, this duo turned quartet from Jagjaguwar Records goes all sci-fi on our asses. Of course I say this in the most flattering way possible... I'm not talking Star Trek style Sci-fi here. This album almost reminds me of a musical companion to Alfonso Cuaron's near future masterpiece Children of Men in that it fixates upon and magnifies our present problems and projects them as the potential status quo in a time that is far too close for comfort. It's like they've peered ahead to a possible ending in a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Parts and Labor describe their version of the future as though they are already living it in their heads.

On the track Nowhere's Nigh, P&L join the the ranks of Roger Miller, Springsteen, and Kraftwerk by crafting an epic and memorable song about the highway. The one key difference here though is that while the aforementioned trio of highwaymen almost show begrudging reverence for the road Parts and Labor are decrying what the road has done to us. The post-hardcore act seems to be giving us a lyrical call to slow it down get the hell out of the suburbs and actually reconnect with the world and most importantly eachother. The lyrics take a biting tone, decrying the consequences of our self imposed departure from the world from our well documented oil addiction, "Guzzled desert teats a black milk precedent,” “gas stations flutter constellating in the night,” to our inability to see beyond our immediate need and desire for comfort through the crippling isolation of suburbia, "unsustainable lives with asphalt testaments, isolated withdrawn and galvanized." Ironically enough, this song SOUNDS like the highway in the sense that you can hear the road in the rhythm (not in a metaphorical sense either, it literally sounds like you're driving over reflectors) and the rev of the engine in the melody and vocal harmonies. This track succeeds in taking you on a 4:36 road trip that feels like a cross country tour at mach 1, quite an achievement

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