This was the stripped-down acoustic tune. Chas wanted to write a song that was simple and basic, so we started with an acoustic guitar. The most significant part of this song for me is the lyrics. It’s here that Clusterfuck’s story finally begins to reach a dramatic apex. Clusterfuck is drinking in a bar, a place called the Hug ‘N Pint (a reference to an Arab Strap album called Monday Night at the Hug and Pint). Clusterfuck has become a Noah-like figure, a prophet here to deliver apocalyptic news of the end of the world. It’s unclear, though, whether Clusterfuck is really a prophet out to save the world or a paranoid, delusional man (“Sink or swim, you know he won’t drown / Will they ever come around/ when they’re all down and out?/ A storm is coming to town”). The theme of an impending flood has two meanings, a public one and a private one. On a public note, Clusterfuck believes the world will be deluged, but it also seems that in all reality, Clusterfuck is drowning in his own personal flood, one of alcoholism, a vice that is only furthering his detachment from the world and his paranoid delusions. Either way, Clusterfuck is a failed Noah figure, a prophet unable to save the people from either a literal or metaphorical flood.
There had to be an acoustic ballad eventually.
The rule of the night: no computer effects, no sequenced drums, all recording done with one microphone set up in the room. I already knew that we could make magic with our digital toys, so this time I wanted to try and limit us by keeping things as simple as possible: guitar, vocals, tambourine, bongo (back of acoustic guitar), and Amanda’s belly dancing jingly bells and castanets. Also, I wanted to tell a story. This was the night that we realized all our songs had certain themes in common, and so we decided that this whole record was the tale of Clusterfuck Jones, the character of our eponymous first (completed) song.
The dude’s a down and out guy, and we can only hope things work out better for him in the future.
Up Next: “Another Attempt at Failure“