Sunset Rubdown, You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)
you go on ahead for awhile I would like to just follow you awhile
and I’d like to watch the white flash of your heels as they take turns breaking the desert heat to beckon me in languages I’ve never learned and I’d like to have you navigate two hills where no musicians live and on the way decide what mendings of your will you’re willing to forgive
(The sun is hammered to a band of gold. Pine-needles, like mazda, are brilliantly aglow. No rain has come to take the rustle from the falling sweet-gum leaves. Over in the forest, across the swamp, a sawmill blows its closing whistle. Smoke curls up. Marvelous web spun by the spider sawdust pile. Curls up and spreads itself pine-high above the branches, a single silver band along the eastern valley. A black boy… you are the most sleepiest man I ever seed, Sleeping Beauty… cradled on a gray mule, guided by the hollow sound of cowbells, heads for them through a rusty cotton field. From down the railroad track, the chug-chug of a gas engine announces that the repair gang is coming home. A girl in the yard of a whitewashed shack not much larger than the stack of worn ties piled before it, sings. Her voice is loud. Echoes, like rain, sweep the valley. Dusk takes the polish from the rails. Lights twinkle in scattered houses. From far away, a sad strong song. Pungent and composite, the smell of farmyards is the frangrance of the woman. She does not sing; her body is a song. She is in the forest, dancing. Torches flare.. juju men, greegree, witch-doctors.. torches go out.. The Dixie Pike has grown from a goat path in Africa.
Foxie, the bitch, slicks back her ears and barks at the rising moon.)
"Not everyone was so thrilled about Hunger Of The Pine. Another hazard of success is that the suits start sticking their oars in, and Alt-J’s American label didn’t view the song as a “big single”, apparently ignoring the fact that An Awesome Wave did pretty well without one. Hackles (mildly) raised, Alt-J resolved to write “the least Alt-J song ever”, taking a “joke riff” Joe had been playing in rehearsals and fleshing it out with the most perfunctory chords and rhythm imaginable. Whereas the band typically spend weeks agonising over every note, Left Hand Free was written “in about 20 minutes”. Needless to say, the US label loved it.
Thom: “I tried to make the drums as cliched as possible, there’s none of my personality in it.”
Gus: “I’m doing some kind of organ solo. I don’t know where ‘baby’ came from.”
Joe: “And I say, ‘Gee whizz,’ which I’m not sure is a phrase I’ve ever uttered before. I can imagine it appealing to American truckers with Good Riddance To Bin Laden stickers!”
“Oh God…” says Gus, a worrying realisation dawning. “Someone’s going to walk onstage to it at an NRA convention.”
In truth, Left Hand Free sounds rather more like Odelay-era Beck than Ted Nugent, but it’s undeniably catchy. If it turns Alt-J into accidental one-hit wonders in the red states, then they’re ready for it. Kind of.
“Let’s see if it becomes a hit first,” cautions Gus. “We might be no-hit wonders.””