Monday, April 14, 2008

The Narrator Break Up - But Not Before Recording One of Their Best Songs Ever

Download: The Narrator - "Surfjew"
Download: The Narrator - "Pregnant Boys"
Download: The Narrator - "The Party's Over"
Download: The Narrator - "We Call Police"
Download: The Narrator - "The Cavaliers"
Download: The Narrator - "Try Not To Breathe"

Despite all of the dreams one may have about living the good rock n' roll life, the reality for most bands is one of constant struggle. Few bands know this better than Chicago-based The Narrator, a group with musical similarities to Pavement and Archers of Loaf. Their third full-length, All That To The Wall, was filled with sly, slacker-filled self-deprecation and treble-heavy, guitar-driven hooks, but there were many lyrics that addressed the pains and bores of working at a lackluster job, finding out your ex-girlfriend is getting married, and enough ennui to fuel an entire city's worth of quarter-life crises. Furthermore, the time before recording of that record was a period rife with conflict--the band lost its drummer and almost broke up.

So it comes as no surprise--though it still is unfortunate news all the same--that a Time Out Chicago post has revealed that the band is breaking up. Nothing has been issued by way of a band statement, but the quartet did announce via their MySpace page that they've got two final shows coming: one on May 3rd at the Empty Bottle and the other on May 10th at the Red Door in New York.

It would seem that their lyrics about "quitting while we're behind" are all too prophetic. That said, the band posted one last track called "So The End", an outtake from Wall, and its a song that shows the band going out on top musical form. The song is about Sam Axelrod recalling a dream where he's friend with Bob Dylan (apropos of the fact that The Narrator covered a Dylan song on their last record) and how the former Robert Zimmerman asks Axelrod about his group. And boy, does Axelrod tell him. "We're broke/and we're spent/and it's starting to take its toll" goes one lyric. "I've figured it out/and I can't live like this" goes another. Finally, after starting off as a plaintive, acoustic-folk number, "So The End" triumphantly crescendos into a waltz, with all the band singing along to the refrain of "I can't live on this witch's salary". It's a bittersweet moment because of the fact that the track is such a great sing-along, and the band's profile seemed to be rising--but it seems like acclaim from the likes of Stereogum and Rolling Stone will only take you so far. Still, it's a track that the band should be proud of.

Stream "So The End" at the band's MySpace Page

Listen to tracks from all of the Narrator's catalog--all MP3s via Flameshovel--along with the group's cover of R.E.M's "Try Not To Breathe", at the top of the post.

Buy Narrator records here.

The Narrator on MySpace

(Jonathan Graef)

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