I am a BIG fan of the vinyl medium. Not in the elitist sense of “oh you don’t know how good it could sound until you hear it on vinyl,” because trust me, Anne Murray on vinyl is still Anne Murray; but I love it in the sense of involvement. If you place the needle down and hear the music take shape while holding the sleeve in hand, there is little that can rival that experience.
It is precisely this experience that takes Charleston, Illinois’, by way of Columbia, Missouri, duo The Ex-Bombers from “good” to having the ability to rattle your inner audiophile tower on the very foundation of which it stands.
I never, in a million years, thought I would be volunteering to hold the rally flag at the front of the pack for a sound teetering on “Dirtbag Spy Jazz” and “Beatnik Punk.” But I’ll be damned if there have ever been two musicians that have so easily tapped into that passion more than Keri Cousins and Scott Walus.
Like a modern speakeasy, The Tightwire comes through the spinning wax like a slam poetry session focused on today’s inability to cope with patience and hard work. The back of the record explains that it is “a hand-written love letter in a world of instant gratifications…Though jaded by the madness of bureaucracy, we can take pleasure in our frustration.” Coupled with the simple, yet impactful raw sound the tale-in-a-record comes to life in the most addicting way.
The record is most definitely best heard in one continuous sit-down and it draws you to that effortlessly. The smoky, dimly lit, old-jazz-bar-turned-underground-coffee-shop vibe left me clinging to the intellectually fueled statements that never breached into rant. The songs as a whole carry an immense presence, drawing upon inspirations from Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and the like; there is an unwavering simplicity which conveys the album to the purpose, not simply some over-digitalized sound. In short, it is a remarkable find in today’s world.
Perhaps there is a sort of elitist aura associated with The Ex-Bombers’s record The Tightwire in the sense that what was once common sense is no longer, but it can be found here. It is a diamond in the rough, found when the rough overwhelmed what was once a world of diamonds. It is vividly honest and undeniably memorable. If The Tightwire had not actually released in 2012, this would be a shoe-in for my top 10 list of 2013.
But remember, it can only be found on vinyl via Cavetone Records, here.