0112: “Sedona” by Houndmouth

There is something about listening to music while driving at night, especially when it’s warm out and the windows are rolled down. At night the air seems thinner and the music can attach itself to the air molecules easier. At night the darkness lends itself easier to feeling like you’re in a movie scene when a song you like is playing loudly inside your moving audio system. At night there are sometimes fewer cars on the road and that can let the music seep in to you more so than during the day, with its appointments and email notifications and traffic and psychic congestion. When Volkswagen released their TV ad campaign years ago for the Cabriolet and it featured college-aged kids driving at night listening to Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon,” it was successful for a few reasons not the least of which is that “Pink Moon” is A) a great song that a lot of people had never heard of up until that point and B) “Pink Moon” is infinitely better to listen to at night in your car than during the daytime. While I am not trying to draw a direct line between “Pink Moon” and “Sedona” (though both coincidentally use pink to create imagery) it should be known that the track by Houndmouth is a really great song—and a really great song to listen to while driving at night. “Sedona” is ostensibly about the town in Arizona that for a little while acted as a Hollywood outpost for filming westerns. The music has the feel of wide open spaces—there’s a layer of wind to suggest the Arizona terrain—and is very very polished. The drum beat that kicks off the chorus, and the chorus itself with its multiple vocals, has a ’60s throwback feel to it. The wistfulness of the lyrics (those neon lights that used to burn so bright and pink, a Saturday night kind of pink) set to an ever-inching-closer crescendo makes for a truly wonderful rock song. All of the touches here fit into place perfectly: the selective addition of vocals, the use of the piano, the moment the guitar riff gets louder and the layers that accompany it, the lead vocals getting louder when they do and accenting the particular words and lyrics that they do, the brief electronic noises towards the end. This is a show-stopping song from a band from a small town in Indiana, the kind of small town that probably has a lot of traffic-free roads in which listening to songs while driving at night is an easy thing to be enchanted by.

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