I am delighted to report that Harrison Lemke is at it again. This indie music guy, whose album inspired by the Book of Genesis I reviewed for First Things, is back with a four-song EP exploring the emotional landscape of our first parents, and the sudden changes their sin made in the world around them.
It’s so terrific–wistful, stunned, self-lacerating. Lemke finds images I’d never considered: the first death, which is not a human death but a sparrow’s. The first accidents (“We got covered in blood/But it wasn’t enough”). The redefinition of gratitude and sharp, complete lowering of expectations (“The river’s wide/And the river’s deep/And it’s a wonder you don’t kill us in our sleep”). Ah, it’s so fully-imagined and strange. Every time the harmonica comes in it’s so right and painful. I love the bouncy, flirtatious “Animals,” and man, the lyrics of that song are so evocative. The line, “Feel you looking at me like I’m looking at you,” balanced on that razor edge of sex and predation–so good.
Our old friends see us coming and they remember what we’ve done,
Smell us on the wind and they know they’ve gotta run.
If you like the Mountain Goats you will love this. If you like the less punk-rock side of Elvis Costello I’d also suggest giving it a spin.
You can listen for free here. Why not bring him to your town to play?