Like the woozy philosopher propped up in the corner of your local dive bar, Portland, Oregon-based quartet Quiet Life tear down the false facade of rock ‘n’ roll in their new track, “Messin’ Around.”
“It’s a very literal expression of a certain situation between a girl and a guy that we used to emphasize a carefree lifestyle and the absurdity of the music industry,” declares singer Sean W. Spellman.
The tune arrives on their new EP, Housebroken Man, which includes guest appearances by Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope. The project will be released Tuesday (Aug. 12).
Lead by a jaunty, honky-tonk piano and Spellman’s half-slurred vocals, “Messin’ Around” would feel right at home in a Wild West saloon.
“It was always leaning toward the barroom, honky-tonk vibe from the inception of the song,” he tells CMT Edge. “Our pianist Philippe Bronchtein was on a vacation at the Daytona 500, so I had to call our buddy in New York City, Erick Eiser, to play the piano, which I think really dictates the feel of the tune.”
But rather than embrace the debauchery and never-ending childhood that musicians often seem to lead, the song argues that at some point, everyone has to grow up: “One more time I will fill your cup/But then you’ve gotta quit your messin’ around,” Spellman sings.
It’s kind of like saying, “I really need to quit smoking” while lighting another one up or “tomorrow I’ll go to the gym” while settling down on the couch, and Quiet Life nails the familiar internal conflict.
“These songs were written when a lot of things were in flux,” Spellman explains on the band’s website. “They came together at weird or rough times in certain relationships I was having. We put the EP together knowing that things change.”
Check out the CMT Edge premiere of Quiet Life’s deceptively self-critical “Messin’ Around.”