belated tune: Trophy Wife, “Wolf”

Most medical textbooks would describe “peristalsis” as the rhythmic, involuntary contractions of the smooth muscle in the esophagus and small intestine that push food along as it is digested.  If you have ever tried to play Frisbee after a family barbeque, you’ve noticed the implications of this process – an annoying little cramp in what feels like your stomach.  As your digestive systems attempts to process Aunt Jane’s apple pie and seven of Cousin Steve’s finest store-bought hot dogs, it literally saps both energy and blood from the rest of the body.  You get that cramp because the blood that should be oxygenating your diaphragm (the muscle that helps your lungs totally inflate with air) is busy fueling some grueling peristalsis.

Everything about Trophy Wife‘s “Wolf”–the lead single their forthcoming EP Bruxism, due out October 17–and its video is almost overtly peristaltic.  The theme of rhythmic automation is introduced when the song opens with mechanical sounds like a banging and the sliding of metal that remind one of a factory assembly line lurching to a start far too early in the morning.  Lyrics like “Now I know / My unholy road / Just your passenger / Now I know / This is not my home” promote the theme of involuntary loss of control both spatially and temporally.

In addition, each member of the Oxford-based trio also spends the duration of the video hanging upside down.  As they try to sing, eat, and drink, the viewer catches a glimpse of something straining to appear natural against the indomitable force of gravity. Ironically, perhaps the only thing natural here is the involuntary peristalsis.

When an audibly tense drum and bass line first hit, accompanied by an eerie, synthesized melody, a paradox is created.  On one hand, this track, notably produced by Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis, is velvety smooth.  On the other, there’s just something not right about it; something is off, and it’s impossible to place it.

I’m sure we’ve all tried to eat a freeze pop hanging upside down from our favorite playground.  Similar to that experience, “Wolf” goes down involuntarily, and it sure as hell tastes good.  But once you flip back over to walk home and put a bit of thought into what you just heard, your stomach is going to hurt a little bit.  Give this new track a listen; once you start, you won’t be able to stop until it’s completely digested.