Close Enough To Hear
As the press material accompanying Mile Twelve’s third album explains, and as most listeners will agree, their music on their third album explodes and smolders with the urgency of trying to make up for lost time.
The songs of this Boston-based “acoustic string band” (to use the band’s own description) makes no direct reference to COVID and the overwhelming isolation and loss that it has caused. Yet many of the songs are infused with longing and a sense of quiet desperation.
Many of the band’s brilliant compositions have cryptic lyrics. Yet many of them grapple with life’s mysteries and BIG questions. But to get close to their meaning, you often have to read not just in, but often, between the lines. This makes for vivid and riveting stories and narratives that are enhanced by their mystery and abstraction.
There are hints of bluegrass on some of these cuts. But whatever category this IBMA award winning band falls into, the instrumentation is spot-on and compelling. And, as I’ve already said, the songs themselves will pull you right in.
The title track, for instance, conveys the isolation and desperation of someone involuntarily separated from a loved one. “Waiting” seems to suggest frustration and sadness over some kind of personal or spiritual breakthrough that, as the years pass, never arrives.
“Anywhere – Town” adds a fresh dimension and depth to the many songs that have been written about the loneliness, dislocation and sleeplessness that sometimes comes from too much time on the road.
The delightfully weird “Johnny Oklahoma” is an upbeat story-song about a young guy who volunteers to perform a strange community ritual. As the centerpiece of a public gathering he is fatally shot out of a cannon, which is cause for a community celebration.
All in all, Close Enough to Hear is a gem. And even though you might struggle a little here and there to figure out what’s really going on in these songs, they are nonetheless haunting and well worth the listen.