Don't Underestimate The Missionary Position Or Its 'Consequences'

Seattle-based indie rockers grin at the rottenness of it all...
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The Missionary Position - ConsequencesI'm not sure which is cooler: stumbling on to a great new band on your own or when a friend turns you on to them. They're both great in their own way and in the case of my introduction to The Missionary Position, it was a case of the latter.

I was drawn to them before I'd heard a note because I'm sorry but this might be the greatest fucking bandname ever. Yes, that makes me very juvenile but it doesn't make me wrong; it's a great name for a band. What makes it better is the music is great and the bandname fits not because Consequences is a sexual record but there is something profoundly sexy inside the dark sounds and songs.

TMP is the brainchild of Jeff Angell, whose voice echoes the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone with more gravel and gravity. He projects the swagger of Jim Morrison and he spits off-kilter poetry and imagery that would have made the two kindred spirits. He tells woozy, boozy tales of the underground and underworld drowning in the Pacific Northwest gloom of a post-grunge world.

The instrumental "Leave The Motor Running" segues into the bloozy madness of "Objects In The Mirror" where Angell's stream-of-conciousness free association sketches a perfect portrait of depravity and desperation, all with a biting sense of humor. Hoarse, wailing saxophone from Gregor Lothian is the smoky, dim light eerily lighting the spare rhythm track as Angell brings us down into the gutter where he tells us his mind lives: "my car's a trashcan, my mouth's an ashtray, my stomach's a graveyard" and "my knuckles get even if my knife's in your back." That's just the first verse, friends; that's where the descent begins.

He sings of "drinking, fucking, and fighting" but this isn't boastful posturing, as Angell describes the time spent in these pursuits as wasted evenings. The chorus tells us "the whole world's gone to shit 'cuz we don't know when to quit; you might drink to remember, baby, but I drink to forget."

"Every Man For Himself" picks up the same theme of a world gone to shit and The Doors frame of reference becomes even clearer as the spooky keyboards here could have easily come from Robby Krieger. Where "Mirror" finds Angell looking at his own disintegrating existence, "Every Man" is outward looking with those same keen observations, biting humor, and vicious indictments.

The "ballad" on this record is "The Key," telling us avoid love at all costs. He advises us "don't fall in love, don't take any chances, don't be confused she moves, that's why she dances" in the first verse and tells us "you're better off alone, take it from me, I put my heart in a cage and I swallowed the key" in the chorus. Yes, it sounds like our protagonist is a man done wrong by the women of this world, that he's been deceived and he's not going to fall for that shit again but there's more to the story.

The second verse ends with "If you're in love, hold on with both hands, 'cuz one out of four weeks it bleeds and makes ridiculous demands." (Most) men will find that bit at least a little bit funny and it's probably a big turnoff for (most) women but that's kind of the point. Angell's voice inhabits the jaded man who sees women as sirens singing him to doom, so destroyed and broken inside he's left to make jokes about PMS; he should be a turnoff in this condition.

The crashing, blistering ramshackle blues of "Money To Burn and Time To Kill" is where Angell and TMP leave us, fully satisfied and unsettled.

Angell's charisma and sense of humor combined with well-constructed hooks and outstanding playing keep this from degenerating into another moping, disaffected, self-loathing indie record. All those things are present and there's no escaping his bleak worldview or ignoring the pinpoint accuracy in some of his observations about his world and ours, but his charm and wit make it possible to tap your toes and smile at the rottenness of it all.