To me, the acoustic guitar is like nails scratching on a chalkboard or like forgetting to get guacamole with your burrito bowl. Being forced during college to go to bar after bar to listen to some generic bro who describes his sound as, “Oh yeah, I’m like indie,” tainted my ability to have a connection with the acoustic guitar, so much so that I absolutely hate it. But there is something intriguing about Spooky Jets at a Distance (LFM Records), an acoustic retelling of Earwig’s Pause for the Jets.
The album was recorded by Lizard McGee, the eccentric lead singer of Columbus trio Earwig, in his bedroom using only a microphone and Pro Tools. The refurbished album is more intimate than the electric original, and you feel as if you are also in McGee’s bedroom listening to him belt out each raw and intimate lyric. While both albums begin with “Wisdom Teeth” and the sound of a jet, the acoustic version of the song also features the chirping of crickets, no doubt something often heard in the woods of Southern Ohio where McGee calls home. Perhaps, a result of recording at night, it is a slight and pleasant addition to the track.
Exemplary of the record’s moodswings, on “Silverheels,” lyrics like “You are the truth and I am the liar,” evoke the qualities of a love letter and the emotions behind it. Meanwhile, “Wasted on You,” the album’s highlight, details the conflicted feelings that go along with a messy breakup. Here, McGee accurately describes waking up in the morning thinking about the object of his affection/affliction, going to bed thinking of the same person, and the internal agony that comes with such obsessing.
Did this album make me re-appreciate the acoustic guitar? Probably not. Will it nevertheless get repeated listens? Definitely.