Day 225: “Is this son the one you waste your kingdom on?”

Today I cooked a lamb curry. Cooking things like curries in my house is a tightrope walk of the kitchen, because I have to make it spicy without being hot in the mouth in any way. But I am happy to report that I nailed it. Probably because once again, I distrusted my culinary creativity and used a recipe.

In other news, I’ve been continuing my And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead education since I am going to see them in less than 24 hours (can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait!). So today I’ve been blasting the Lost Songs album.

This album feels different to the others that I know and love. Usually with Trail of Dead I feel like they flit between outlandish fantasy and intensely personal navel-gazing. They seem like they’re off in their own little world, for one reason or another, not normal humans who inhabit the same everyday life as the rest of us. But Lost Songs is the exception to that. It’s very…political. Very socially conscious. It finally sounds like they are living in the real world.

I mean, when you listen to “Up To Infinity” and “Catatonic”, they are songs that reach straight-up punk rock levels of aggression and social awareness. The record opens up with these first lines from “Open Doors”:

“It might have been the page and pen /
Were once enough to save the world /
Now it doesn’t answer /
Tables have been turned”

There’s a statement of intent there, that the world has gone to hell in a handbasket (or as I like to call her, Helena Handbasket) and resistance almost feels futile. Almost. That’s why along with this kind of cynical depair we get many repeated calls to arms, a shred of hope that something can be done and we must be the ones to do it, most notably on “Awestruck” with the incredibly catchy hook: “Get out / Get awestruck!” It makes you want to jump up and go save the planet. Or at least read a book.

I think “Bright Young Things” is my favourite track. The lyrics to this blow me away, I’ve half a mind to just copy and paste them all in their entirety, but instead I will just leave my favourite lines here:

“Raised to avoid the lie, never learning how or why /
Taught to defend that right but never knowing what to fight /
The schooling we’d forget chained us to a world of debt /
Waste paint on what we feel, without the art to make it real”

That last line slays me. It’s a song that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being a disaffected millennial. We’ve inherited a broken world, and we escape it through countless layers of vacuousness instead of facing the impossible reality of trying to fix it. It’s a theme that permeates through the entire album and ties it together.

Plus they wrote a song about Game of Thrones (“A Place To Rest”) which is just too cool. Actually I’ve had it up to here with Game of Thrones lately, but this song reminded me of how great the early seasons were. Kind of the same way that I watched Dexter Season 1 the other day, and spent half of that time in mourning because I knew that Dexter Season 1 was the reason why there was eventually Dexter Seasons 5-8. I can only hope beyond hope that GoT never gets as bad as the back half of Dexter. Ick.

Anyway back to our sheep…I have always loved Trail of Dead for how vast, how ethereal, how introspective they are, but at the same time, I am totally digging this grounded, punk rock Trail of Dead. This is a whole new side of them for me to enjoy. In any case, I am so pumped to see them I could well burst out of my whole skin before I get there.

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