Sometimes an album’s cover really does capture the atmosphere of its aural contents — something we semi-regularly explore on the recurring Scratch The Surface feature. Jordaan Mason’s cryptic blend of fucked folk, Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, is one such album. A frightening run through through one man’s psyche, the LP was crafted between May 2007 and March 2009 in Toronto, Canada employing a host of friends and accomplices billed as The Horse Museum. Not unlike the album’s artwork, Divorce Lawyers’ fourteen tracks seem to exist in some alternate netherworld caught between reality, imagination, and perhaps a waking nightmare.
Not that the listener isn’t forewarned; the album itself is billed as a rumination on the “failed marriage between two people of confused genders and identities…taking place during a glandolinian war includ(ing) horses, shotguns, carnival horn sections, religion, male birth, sickness, semen, haircuts, and an eventual apocalypse in 1990.” Intrigued yet? You should be. Rough and raw around the edges — stomping, wailing, horns, acoustic guitars, weeping saws, glockenspiels, strings and pianos all collide. A perfect, if frightening, mess.
Musically, the easy touchstones here are Neutral Milk Hotel, Okkervil River and, say, Animal Collective’s early acoustic weirding. But, truthfully, to make such easy comparisons is to cut this album short. It’s a journey and needs to be treated as such. In fact, it requires it. Because as someone once said, sometimes “between here and there is better than either here or there.” I think Mason and the Horse Museum know this all too well. One of my favorite LPs of 2009.
MP3: Jordaan Mason & The Horse Museum :: Avalanches
MP3: Jordaan Mason & The Horse Museum :: Racehorse: Get Married!
MP3: Jordaan Mason & The Horse Museum :: The Wrong Parts (Vivian Sisters Singing)