The Invisible Man
Matador Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/15/2003
I took The Invisible Man with me to the gym I go to, where I blast new albums on my walkman and try and think about them. I kept having to turn it up. The Counting Crows and Train were jumping into the spots between songs to say "Hi! Remember us? Whaddaya mean, you're trying to forget? C'mon!" (I have an interesting story about Train and a very delinquent studio bill for basic tracks on their debut owed to a friend of mine, but that's leaving the subject.) My fitness center plays an endless stream of snoozer, diet-rock (s)hits from speakers conveniently placed throughout the place, so you can flex your ass muscles or whatever-noids in the mirror and hear (insert "safe" band here) at the same time.
"The Boy With The Hammer in The Paper Bag" started this all off, and the words "layers of gauze" and "blackness" and "oboe" kept popping into my head, even though I'm pretty positive there isn't any woodwind action happening on The Invisible Man. The "layers of gauze" and "blackness" could just be me reaching for a quickie description of the album. There are many, many layers to it, and I feel as though I could spend the next three months writing about it and the crossing bits out and changing them. I think "oboe" really refers to the immense, grumous bass tones throughout the thirteen songs.
I have to admit to not knowing nearly as much as I should about Eitzel's old group, The American Music Club. I like 'em, but is that enough? I own 1994's San Francisco, their swan song, and even brought it out of my cd collection for reference, but I'll just be honest and say I don't really know jack shit about them. They're often compared to Red House Painters, another band I admire. Mark Kozelek (RHP) and Mark Eitzel (AMC); probably both from another planet altogether.
The Invisible Man is a murky, bottomless, mournful and deep (thrilling) to me, but to Mark could have been "a bit too poppy". He's an alien. What did you expect? Do they even have Aqua where he comes from? Look at all the wonderful noises he's missing.