Music

One Spouse to Another: Put Your Dishrag Down, Don’t Be So Goddam Boring

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Sleeping on the Couch kicks off with a rock and roll genderfuck unlike any other. Keyed to a jumpy handclap chorus, it’s called “Dishrag,” and since a woman is singing, it leaves open the question of who’s stuck in the kitchen and who’s in front of the tube watching the Bills with romantic plans for later—probably still some jerk of a husband, only as the album goes on it’s the wife who hates her boss and eyes the guitarist and won’t say who’s she been with. Of course, it’s also the wife who got hit on and then fired at the gas station at 15 and was late to work yesterday dealing with her kid’s “issues.” And it’s also the wife who looks askance at two academic wastrels and an out-of-work actor in a purple Speedo making excuses to his mother on the phone. You want a formal analogy, King Missile isn’t altogether crazy—only there’s nothing in the band’s firm settings or Archibald’s straightforward tone of voice that hints at John S. Hall’s hip disdain. Not that Archibald is without disdain of her own—far from it. She’s angry. But she keeps it under control and makes it sound like common sense. That’s her musical achievement.

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