After an initial reverb-drenched, surf rock-influenced ride down the scale, there’s not much breathing room in “That’s Life,” the two minute rocker from Kansas City, MO’s ✌ i a n ✌.
✌ i a n ✌ is the solo act of Ian Teeple, who plays with local acts Quadrigarum, Snakeoids, and Metatone in addition to fronting his full band, The Fog. “✌ i a n ✌,” he says, “is a solo demoing project to keep me from losing my mind in various stages of transition between projects.” Listening to “That’s Life” provides a commentary on and experience of what it is to be the hyper-kinetic artist.
Bound by an insistent backbeat, the catchy, fuzzy hooks of “That’s Life” battle Teeple’s vocals for space inside the confines of the track’s lo-fi production. The track’s brash instrumentation recalls Sheer Mag in its lo-fi aesthetic and Downtown Boys in its punk rock breakneck frenzy; lyrically, Teeple’s lines evoke Titus Andronicus‘s self-effacing frontman Patrick Stickles. When compression renders lines like “I’m a minor character waiting for contact” barely audible under the weight of tight guitar and drum work, you can tell what Teeple means by them.
Echoing the best Titus tracks, like 2012’s “Ecce Homo,” “That’s Life” eschews a traditional verse/chorus/verse structure. Instead, it’s a linear affair, almost more diary entry than song.
Almost, but not quite.
As the track careens toward its abrupt end, you can just hear him croon “I have problems being alone.” Whereas diary entries are secret, “That’s Life,” despite its experimentation, takes the deeply public form of a song. It’s something to be performed, not squirreled away: “that’s life,” as Teeple sings, “bleeding out on the ground.” “That’s Life,” catchy but indecipherable, is a pop confessional that confidently rings from speakers even as it embodies deep vulnerability. What is life for ✌ i a n ✌? Simply “That,” a song as alive as its performer.
You can stream the track below. The Fog are playing Don Pedro’s in Brooklyn tonight.