After a brief mention earlier this week, Pitchfork's Larry Fitzmaurice gives the full-blown track review treatment to the Jameses' "The Haunted Rider" today. Momentum! It's almost as if he attended the Lake Worth band's performance at Wednesday's Oil.Spill.Benefit at Propaganda, got a huge buzz from the blizzard of synths, and started typing.
The review begins with the statement "If there's one thing I've learned from reading Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry novels, it's that Florida can be a weird place. I imagine that Captured Tracks band the Jameses would agree with this sentiment..." Forget imagining, I asked the Jameses' Jesse Bryan about it this morning.
Me: well, IS florida a weird place???
Jesse: hmmm. as weird as anywhere else!
Now that we have that settled, moving on. About 50 percent of the review cites the
"surreal imagery" and "non sequitors" found in the song's lyrics. Bryan
wants to clarify Fitzmaurice's reading of the chorus, which suggests
that the words are: "Hands disappear in thin air/ In the garden,
there's a horse drinking rye." Although the troubled polo scene over in Wellington would let us believe that local horses are probably drinking rye just to make it through, in actuality, it's "Mountains disappear in thin air/ In the doorway there's a horse draped in black." It's actually more surreal than originally imagined: Only David Blaine can make mountains disappear in thin air. It's all good, though, and Bryan says that they might actually change the song's lyrics to reflect Pitchfork's interpretation at tonight's show.
Later on, Fitzmaurice says that he hears the Jameses as "reminiscent of Television, if Marquee Moon had been recorded in a backwoods bar by a couple of Southern rock enthusiasts," and I thought they were just aping Cutting Crew. Agree to disagree?
So all right, maybe Florida is weird. There's probably more than one
thing I've learned from reading Jonathan Lethem and Paul Auster novels,
but one of them is that Brooklyn is a completely normal place.