08 November 2005

pearls before swine - "another time" (from the one nation underground lp, available for purchase here.)

in brief : a lot of bands sell few records; few become cult bands. this record helpfully--and beautifully--demonstrates the difference.

i'm trying to come up w/ a good reason why you should listen to this.

how about this: if you dig scott walker, and scott 4 above all of the other albums, "another time" would segue perfectly from "angels of ashes" to "boy child." harpsichords, harps, acoustic guitars ring through infinite space, delineating the same path through other worlds that those two songs promise.

oh, but then there's the voices.

yeah, so about that. bob dylan opened a lot of doors, paved the way for a bunch of singers who didn't sing conventionally, pearl before swine's tom rapp among them. from what i hear, actually, a teenaged rapp topped dylan himself in a local talent contest. and yet, today, no one, apart from yo la tengo fans (and, um, me), talks about tom rapp. this may be b/c of the voice. yes, rapp's voice is a bit different, but unlike dylan, he opened few doors--indeed, after about four years recording as pearls before swine, the door was shut on the band's career. no, there are few singers who have followed in rapp's wake; adenoids are apparently less of an acquired taste than the lisp which marks rapp's singing. nor did he help matters by penning lyrics like the following: "did you follow the summer out when the winter pushed its face in the snow?" nothing wrong w/ that, really ... only when rapp sings it comes across slushier.

so, all the pieces are in place for this to be a big joke--and, of what i've heard of the band's other material, it usually is just that--but i've never greeted this song w/ laughter. if anything, it's one of those rare pieces of art that slows the passage of time, that is positively spellbinding. that rapp failed to achieve the success of a bob dylan has little to do w/ small-mindedness and everything to do w/ the fact that his songwriting was seldom so stellar (easy for me to say, yes). that he had the promise to do so is evident every time one listens to this record.

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