McCarthy Trenching’s video for the piano ballad “The Most Attractive Disguise” is home-movie-style footage of Dan McCarthy rowing a boat, beer in the drink holder, singing to the camera about his friend’s relationship advice: “loneliness ain’t half as bad as being with someone who’s making you sad / cause no matter how dark it gets at night / at least you’re the one who turns out the lights”—and then a very “Life Goes On” chorus of “la-de-da”. There’s something so likably matter-of-fact about the video, the song, and the album from which it comes, the band’s second LP Calamity Drenching. Recorded at McCarthy’s home on 8-track, the album humbly offers 12 songs about thunderstorms, drinking, and relationships crumbling. The facts of life, in other words. McCarthy’s acoustic guitar-playing can echo ‘70s singer-songwriters and road-worn troubadours. His voice does the same, whether he’s singing along to his guitar or piano. His songs have wit, and can also break your heart. The final song, “Song for the Four Horseman”, is a quiet epic, a plea for tenderness from someone who has been around the block. “If my hands are shaking / it’s the coffee or it’s the cold,” he sings in that same matter-of-fact way, without affect.
// Notes from the Road
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