Til Willis


If most albums have all the continuity and structure of a novel, then Hackles is a collection of short stories. Rough around the edges, sometimes rambling, and sometimes so straight to the point it’s unnerving. This is a desert island album in that it jumps styles so many times one could just pick sections of it to enjoy separately from the others. From the opening, where an earthbound savior introduces the audience to a world barely hanging together to blues tinged tales of interracial romance circa 1932, these songs come across like half remembered smoky campfire stories. It’s worth mentioning that all the major themes are covered; love, lust, longing and murder. Including a moment where the narrator confesses to killing off part of himself, the part his significant other is in love with, to make room for the real him. Finally, at the end of the album our narrator lifts an old carnival barker’s line, that “if you can’t stay late, come again tomorrow,” perhaps suggesting that if this nineteen song affair is too much to take in one sitting, you can always come back to it. Or, it could simply be saying, “hey, this album has a lot to offer if you listen close.”