If it’s possible for a punch in the guts to be beautiful, then Me + Mine (Lamentations) by American Aquarium is that.
BJ Barham has created a portrait of a middle America in decline and decay, long established communities at best ignored and at worst betrayed by politicians and leaders of all persuasions. “”It’s like we don’t matter”, Mama said, “At least that’s how it seems” | That’s the day I woke up from the American dream”.
Barham’s coarse vocal gives all the layers of emotion to an account of broken promises, broken dreams, broken homes; Where once was hope now is only bitter reality. There’s a kind of heroism in lines like, “We’re tough as nails, mean as hell | Without an ounce of quit in our veins”, though any illusion of romance is quickly dashed – “But the harder we work, the more they take | Till all the good is gone, for goodness sake”
Based on the three tracks released so far from the upcoming album Lamentations, this one looks to be the emotional and spiritual heart. Work hard, hang in there, your time will come, you will succeed. That’s the dream. But not every dream comes true, no matter how hard you try.
The accompanying video adds to the epic scale. It’s over seven minutes long, but it truly doesn’t waste a second and is an acheivement in itself.
The album Lamentations will be released on 1st May. Ahead of that date, look out for our upcoming interview with BJ Barham where we discuss the new album, and also how a changing world gives new contexts to his earlier work.