16 February 2007

Drink Me

For years, I’ve been gathering evidence in support of my pet hypothesis that most great things are originated by native Ohioans ... who then flee the “Heart Of It All” as soon as humanly possible. Just about any other pasture will do, history tells us: green, desolate, metropolitan, even lunar.

Natives (of which I am not one, though I did live there for quite some time) can hardly escape this sad fact, surrounded as they are by the ubiquitous ‘Birthplace of Aviation’ motto found on Ohio license plates and Ohio quarters: a reminder that, while the Wright Brothers were from Dayton, when it came time for the big day, they promptly split to windswept Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, NC. (Carolina plates proudly proclaim: ‘First in Flight’.) What I haven’t decided yet is whether all this speaks well or ill of the great state: well, that so many ingenious and industrious minds have been born there; or ill, that virtually all of them catch the first thing smokin’ outta town.

Anyway. All that by way of wholly unnecessary preamble to the duo Drink Me, which I discovered just over a year ago. Wynne Evans and Mark Amft met while roommates at Oberlin College in ... well, you know where. The hip among you will be unimpressed by my new-found devotion to a band that's been broken up for nearly two decades; but better late than never. Drink Me found fame in the late 80s and early 90s while opening for They Might Be Giants. I wasn’t a fan of the latter then, and I’m not a fan now. Nor even am I sure whether Drink Me appeals principally because of its musical offering -- deceptive, sweet, melancholy, not unsophisticated -- or instead because of its somewhat tragic fate. (I first learned of the group via the periodic NPR series known as “Dust Bin Bands”: worth a listen here.) Certainly, the band’s appeal is not due to its name, which is, frankly, awful. But despite that, their music is captivating: thoroughly eerie at points, and yet surprisingly resonant throughout.

Alas, they really have been cast to the dust bin. After only two albums, Mark Amft has dropped off the face of the world, and even Amazon can’t seem to dig up a copy of their eponymously named first disk. So I treasure my copy ... and heartily recommend that you try to pick up one of your own.

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