Absentee - There's A Body In A Car Somewhere (Memphis Industries)
UK release date: 30 October 2006
Have you ever been to the cinema to see a horror movie, and as you're clinging to the arm of your significant other during a particularly scary part, a voice drifts over the back of the seat from the row behind you? "I remember when I cut off a head" it says in a perfectly calm voice. Instantly, you're lost somewhere between blind panic and the kind of enjoyable scare you can just about cope with.
There's a Body In a Car Somewhere plays a similar kind of trick. Deftly fooling you with its jaunty, bouncy country track (which resembles Pavement augmented with a horn section) you almost miss the fact that this is a song with a far bleaker outlook than you might expect. Mind you, they did call it a There's a Body In a Car... so you should have guessed that this was never going to be a comedy number.
Dan Michaelson imagines his significant other turning up as the body in the car, no longer much good for anything other than "samples of teeth and hair". "Should I laugh or should I cry?" he asks in a baritone that matches Shane MacGowan in terms of disassociated drunken drawl as his band lead the way in a manner so different in tone to the lyrics that it's practically the reason the term juxtaposition was invented.
It's an unpleasant subject matter certainly, but you can't help but love this song regardless. Now, did I ever tell you about the time I cut off a head?