March 31, 2009

More WeLeftYouSleeping: "His Floor Is My Ashtray" +1

So where were we? Oh right, running down the tracks from Johnny Foreigner's unreleased first full-length WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow, recorded by the nascent trio in 2005, prior to bassist Kelly Southern's tenure in the band. To date we've shared with you the first four and the final songs of WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow, which puts us squarely in the middle of the track listing. So today let's talk about "His Floor Is My Ashtray" and "I'm Leaving... Soon," tracks five and six respectively. We already referenced the former as a highlight of the "lost" record in our initial assessment here three weeks ago. Citing the record's "carefree and expansive experimentalism," we offered as an example "the wild tumult and the ensuing, surprisingly quiet close of 'His Floor Is My Ashtray.' The tune quietly nestles into a reverie built on a reversed drum track, plucking on the guitar strings behind the bridge and band fronter Alexei Berrow murmuring 'he just calls it like he sees it' over and over again into the fade.'" Sounds pretty good, yeh?

"I'm Leaving... Soon" is notable for the prescient guitar lick that drives the composition. Mr. Berrow is an avowed Craig Finn/Hold Steady fan, so it is sort of an amazing coincidence that the opening guitar business of "I'm Leaving... Soon" would fit well (with a little wiggling, of course) within "One For The Cutters," track three on The Hold Steady's very good 2008 Stay Positive. The Johnny Foreigner track is substantially more forlorn, and Berrow's murmured vocals alternates spaces with some spacey synths that pulse and pan across a stereo field perforated with clacking drum machine. The last 40 seconds are surprisingly overdriven, as live drums enter the mix and Berrow takes to the rafters to scream away his disappointment -- it's quite affecting.

Johnny Foreigner -- "His Floor Is My Ashtray" -- WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow
Johnny Foreigner -- "I'm Leaving... Soon" -- WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow
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