One definition of the word echo is carbon copy. The diminished duplicate, the original file saved in a lower-quality format, the return of the likeness awash in reverb and lessness. But echo’s first entry in my thesaurus bespeaks nothing of a copy’s inherent ersatz; the thesaurus’ answer is, actually, answer. In this respect Sean Nelson’s new songs are full of answers, from the twinkly Elliott Smith so-called honky-Bach piano, to the Hedwig & The Angry Inch loungy, Vaudevillian oompah, to Yoni Wolf’s up-to-the-second Internet parlance, to the unavoidable “Sunday Bloody Sunday” comparison that “Kicking Me Out of the Band” makes in it’s intro (second intro that is). The word derivative is so useful—but not here. Nelson’s theatrical exactitude, fuzzy fiction, and lyric-driven steez couple crushingly with what are not so much references as citations, his own voice bouncing off the canyon walls of every song he’s ever heard. The song’s terror is groovy and bleak and to it’s smarting beat I move my body from side to side, side to side, dancing (in my chair) (in front of my computer) all the way through the signature sardonic breakdown, the cocaine daybreak narrative, the manic and self-reflexive crescendo that ends in an ejaculation of fear. Yeah, I said it. Right through to the end. He says it himself: “two chords and the truth.” A little less than the recipe Hank Williams called for, but more than enough to make a song about songs out of.
-Peter Milne Greiner
Peter Milne Greiner‘s poems, reviews, and slash fiction have appeared recently in Fence, Leveler, Stone Telling, FAQNP, Exit Strata, Diner Journal, You’re Beautiful, New York, and an anthology of queer and gender-fluid poetry called Here, We Cross. Earlier this summer he sent a poem into space through the Jamesburg Earth Station in Carmel Valley, California.
Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?
Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
See all Songs of the Week here.
Follow Song of the Week on Twitter: @nohelpforthat