Wrist and Pistols-Wristopolis
October 6, 2008
Wrist and Pistols
Wristopolis (Unreleased 2006)
Have you ever heard a song that speaks to you in such a way that it seems improper to ever stop listening to it? Most of the songs that fall into this category are very familar ones like Michael Hurley’s “Tea Song”, COB’s “Let it Be You”, Antony and the Johnsons’ “Hope There’s Someone” and the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb.” This is why it is so wonderful to hear a friend’s band record a song that speaks to me in such an intimate manner. There are certain songs in one’s life that feel more like companions instead of a collection of notes and chords and it goes beyond your ears and settles in a heart where thousands will never tread. There is a song on the Wrist and Pistols’ Wristopolis that will remain in constant rotation until the day I shuffle my scruffy coil.
The song in question is cover of the folk standard “Willie o’ Winsbury” Meg Baird of the Espers makes a guest appearance here and adds a grace that perfectly suits this ode to fairness and chivalry. The ballad details a situation where a king wants to hang his servant for getting his daughter pregnant. He rethinks this path when meeting the servant and realized he is a good match and allows them to run off and elope. The imagery of this song sticks with me because the daughter is ordered to strip naked before her father to discern her physical state while he slowly becomes dejected at the revelation it was no lord, duke or night, but a servant who has impregnated his child. He immediately calls for the man to be hanged, but reconsiders his decision once he lays eyes on this handsome gent clad with a blonde mane clad in red silk. His appearance and demeanor disarms him to the point that he realizes that he is man worthy of his daughter’s hand. It’s a fairy tale about the power of love. Her version in her debut album is wonderful, but this version captures the simple romanticism that the song deserves. It shouldn’t be produced, it should humble and rough.
My appreciation for this album may be colored by my friendship with many of the involved parties, but my musical judgment tells me that it’s pretty great no matter who was involved. Wrist and Pistols are an offshoot of the Lucky Dragons and count Brendan Greaves, Pablo Colapinto and William Pym as its members. Part if its charm is derived from living next doo from their practice space where I heard multiple red-hot messes progress to sketches and bloom into song. Plus, there was the occasion where I waltzed in unannounced to convince them that a song should be written from the perspective of a stern disciplinarian. However, that was just another in a traffic jam of bad ideas fueled by a few too many beers. The rest of Wristopolis is great as well. Friendly folks exploring their folksy loves. I won’t lie. That one song eclipses the rest, but it is a gross oversight to ignore the rest of this album.
“Wristopolis” is a digital nest for several separate wobbly records: “Blessings” (2003 CD), “Apologies” (2003 7″); “Choke at Will” (2005 unreleased); “E Pluribus Unicorn” (2005 7″); and Lakeside demos (2006 unreleased.) Interested parties check in here for more Wristoleros: