I find their music to be absolutely fine. But I feel like I’m missing the pop hooks–perhaps it’s different in this stripped down session. Two guitars bass keys and drums. The band plays four songs. “My Time” is a poppy bouncy song. “Easy Water” is moody with lots of shimmering guitars.
It turns out that the guitarist Jimmy Carbonetti has a shop in the East Village called Cobra Guitars. He made all of the band’s guitars. Each one is built one at a time. So there’s a nice plug for the shop.
“Old Vampire” has ringing guitars. It’s a fun instrumental jam with the singer playing drums along with the drummer. This song segues into “Old Friend,” another shimmering echoing song.
I really like the sounds the band has–their gentle echoing guitars sound great. And the singer’s voice fits quite well. The song even have some catchy spots, but there’s nothing dynamic about them for me to really latch onto.
[READ: March 16, 2016] “The Woman of the House”
The thing that I didn’t like about this story at first proved to be one of its strongest assets by the time I reached the end.
I found the writing to be stiff and rather unwelcoming. It was almost as if the author was trying to keep you out. I didn’t care for that, but I see how well it worked for the underlying theme of the story.
The plot is pretty straightforward. It opens on an old man in a wheelchair. To younger men have come to his house and have offered to paint it. He haggles with them–gives them a hard time–but they remain stone-faced and silent until he finally agrees. He asks if they are Polish (the story is set in Ireland) and they nod.
They are not Polish, but it doesn’t matter, they can be if it will serve them. The man knows that Polacks are good Catholics, which is why he agrees to their work.
A little later the woman of the house gets home. She is upset that he has agreed to this. She’s even more upset that he paid cash, because he cannot reach the cash–he is in a wheelchair after all–which means that the two men grabbed cash out of the drawer where she keeps the wads of bills.
But the man says he trusts them, and so that’s that.
The story is mostly about the woman, though. She is pushing 50 now and unhappy with the way her life has turned out. She used to be able to flirt with the butcher and get free meats for a little handsiness, but that seems to be gone now too. The man that she lives with is not her husband, but rather a cousin. She offered to look after him, since he was in the wheelchair, with the understanding that the property (which is his) would be hers one day.
We also see a bit of the point of view of the painters. She makes them tea and snacks while they work but they are never invited in the house after that first day.
And then, they notice things seem much more quiet around the house. It seems as if the man isn’t there any more, but how can that be?
In the end nobody really knows anything about the people in the story, although we are privy to many of their secrets.