My dad rose from the couch and stomped across the room to the television. Ignoring the announcer’s exhortation – “Don’t touch that dial!” – he dialed through the three channels that beamed out from Nashville to our home in the hills of the Upper Cumberland. Channel 4, WSM, “We Shield Millions,” the motto of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. Click. Channel 5, WLAC, owned by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company. Click Click Click. Channel 8, WSIX, the perennial bottom-feeder whose call sign spelled 6 even though the dial rested inexorably on the 8. Technically, there were four stations in Nashville. But the weak signal emitted by Channel 2, WCDN, the “educational TV” station, was usually reduced to a blizzard of snow by our neighbor’s Ham radio.
“There’s nothing on worth watching!” my dad thundered. Then he did something that surprised me. He stiffened, stood on his toes, and fixed his eyes on the overhead light fixture. Then he pitched head first onto the den floor, frightening the cat and nearly upsetting my Nestle’s Quik, dead of a massive heart attack. The doctor said he was dead before he hit the ground. I think he died somewhere between The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction.
Last Sunday night, I recalled Dad’s Last Words as I clicked through the New Arrivals on Bandcamp. “There’s nothing on here worth writing about!” I complained to my muse. “Then don’t write anything,” Cyrene replied. The Music Zombies had infested the indie scene. But don’t stick those knitting needles in your ears just yet, mio amico. Monday morning opened with a breeze drifting in from Reggio Emilia, blowing a cool front of sound: Navel Gaze, the new 4-track EP from Newglads.
The band has de-evolved from a four-piece-plus-one to the current duo of Matteo Fallica (lead vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, bass, drums) and Cristiano Belluzzo (backing vocals, keyboards, electronics, tambourine). As they shed bandmates, the boys honed their sound, paring a poppy amalgam down to a bittersweet symphony of alternating major and minor chords laced with sincere and occasionally hard-edged lyrics.
“Here We Go Again,” reviewed here in May, presents us with a man entrapped in… A relationship? A job? A religion? It could be any, all, or none of those. But the frustration he experiences is one of those universal emotions shared at one time or another by every human being.
Everytime I try to change
Someone makes me feel ashamed
And when I try to walk away
There’s something keeps me chained
“Do We Have Any Chance?” gives us the flip side of the entrapment paradox, a person who has resolved himself, unapologetically, to a situation that, while not ideal, is far from life-threatening.
I just came up to meet you
And I’m telling the truth
I’m not sorry when I think about you
We’re in trouble, yeah, and maybe
We will find a way out
There’s no other way to live on the clouds
The remaining tracks, “How Long Will You Run For?” and “Everybody Wants To Be Wiser” explore dissatisfaction in the human condition with a wall of sound, a glaze of guitar, and a hint of 70’s mellotron.
So stop gazing at your navel and download Navel Gaze! Available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud for the amazing low price of Zero Euro! And join Cristiano and Matteo on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
And BTW: My dad is still alive. And he loved The Beverly Hillbillies. And Petticoat Junction.