Wednesday announce their highly anticipated new album Rat Saw God, out April 7th via Dead Oceans with a video for its lead single “Chosen To Deserve,” directed by Spencer Kelly. Across the album’s ten tracks the band builds a shrine to minutiae. Half-funny, half-tragic dispatches from North Carolina unfurling somewhere between the wailing skuzz of Nineties shoegaze and classic country twang, with distorted pedal steel and Karly Hartzman’s voice slicing through the din.
“Chosen to Deserve is a writing exercise I gave myself to try to recreate the iconic song by Drive-By Truckers “Let There Be Rock” but with my own experiences from growing up and fucking around and getting into stupid shit,” Hartzman explains. “The video directed by Spencer Kelly shows the setting of my upbringing and antics: my parents’ neighborhood in Greensboro, NC and Lake Myers RV Resort.”
Rat Saw God is an album about riding a bike down a suburban stretch in Greensboro while listening to My Bloody Valentine for the first time on an iPod Nano, past a creek that runs through the neighborhood riddled with broken glass bottles and condoms, a front yard filled with broken and rusted car parts, a lonely and dilapidated house reclaimed by kudzu. Four Lokos and rodeo clowns and a kid who burns down a corn field. Roadside monuments, church marquees, poppers and vodka in a plastic water bottle, the shit you get away with at Jewish summer camp, strange sentimental family heirlooms at the thrift stores. The way the South hums alive all night in the summers and into fall, the sound of high school football games, the halo effect from the lights polluting the darkness. It’s not really bright enough to see in front of you, but in that stretch of inky void – somehow – you see everything.
The songs on Rat Saw God don’t recount epics, just the everyday. They’re true, they’re real life, blurry and chaotic and strange – which is in-line with Hartzman’s own ethos: “Everyone’s story is worthy,” she says, plainly. “Literally every life story is worth writing down, because people are so fascinating.”
But the thing about Rat Saw God – and about any Wednesday song, really – is you don’t necessarily even need all the references to get it, the weirdly specific elation of a song that really hits. Yeah, it’s all in the details – how fucked up you got or get, how you break a heart, how you fall in love, how you make yourself and others feel seen – but it’s mostly the way those tiny moments add up into a song or album or a person.
Photo Courtesy: Zachary Chick