Twenty thermal-draft minutes of diffuse, simulated brass? Sure, bring it on. Anything to chase Danzig’s “Dirty Black Summer” outta the mental jukebox; anything to distract us from the vicious humidity that’s turned the Northeast into a hotbox. Yet “the machines fall silent, all machines fall silent, and you sleep with us and dream of summer” mocks, invalidates, and vaporizes most fantasies of escape or meaning. This is the haze that amplifies the heat, the crop death lurking at season’s edge, the persistent mosquitoes slipping and sliding in the flop sweat shed as you hustle home to change into another shirt.
Unless you’re financially endowed, a savvy planner, and/or high all the time, summer is mostly bullshit; even arguably gorgeous weather carries with it a heaviness, a sense of betrayed promise. The sun’s failure to set early reinforces what feels like a preordained lack of productivity. The cool movie is in and out of theaters. Everyone’s away, Instagramming the sorts of vacations you’ll never take. Ideas wither on their vines while you’re re-hydrating or because there’s little spare energy—a non-renewable resource, as it happens—to be had. “the machines fall silent” forces the listener into a self-confrontation, to recognize the limitations and sanctions life imposes: the aural canal is temporarily transformed into the remorseless psychic wasteland that the physical world already is, and perhaps always was.