The Mendoza Line

The Mendoza Line

If They Knew This Was the End

Bar None

If They Knew This Was the End plays out like a compendium of mid-1990s Southern indie rock. Encompassing dreamy, jangly pop affectations (“Wiretapping” and “This Charm” ), fuzzy guitar rock (“Dollars To Donuts” and “I Never Had a Chance”) and country-inflected sensibilities (“If You Knew Her as I Know Her” and “The Aragon and Trianon”), this album exhumes recordings from the band’s early days in Athens, GA. In theory it is a re-release of the band’s 1996 debut album, as they had originally intended. What this actually means is not all that clear, and singer/guitarist Timothy Bracy’s eight pages of liner notes provide little elucidation. Essentially, If They Knew This Was the End signifies a journey of self-discovery and experimentation of a neophyte Mendoza Line. The influences here are diverse, ranging from the folk stylings of Bob Dylan and the ethereality of The Velvet Underground to the ’80s radio sounds of American Music Club, The Replacements and Elvis Costello. And while Bracy avows a disdain for the hype precipitated by the semi-popularity of some Elephant Six bands, the influence of ’60s pop is more than a mere footnote to this album.

Unfortunately, this journey of self-discovery concludes with little sense of clarity. If They Knew This Was the End is an uneven offering that reveals a fledgling band who has yet to find, or be reified by, a single, cohesive thread. This is both good and bad. With subsequent releases, the band eventually figures it all out. Yet, while this album is by no means abysmal, there are frequent moments of fragmentation that toe the line of schizophrenia. Instances of raw, kinetic emotion, devoid of artifice, are undermined by tracks that are unfocused and seemingly lazy. It seems that Bracy realizes this, writing in the liner notes: “When I listen to those songs now, I think of how hapless we were . . . On the record, every small interaction turns into a full-fledged catastrophe . . . It makes me laugh hearing us attempt to make sense of it all, and I hope it is humorous to others as well.”

Bar None Records:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Best of Film 2021
    Best of Film 2021

    Lily and Generoso select and review their ten favorite features, seven supplemental films, and two prized repertory releases of 2021.

  • I Saw A Dozen Faces…
    I Saw A Dozen Faces…

    From The Windbreakers to Bark, Tim Lee is a trooper in the rock and roll trenches…and he’s lived to tell it all in his new memoir.

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

From the Archives