Back in March, I mentioned how much I loved seeing BRONCHO at SXSW. One song in particular really stuck with me from their set—“Class Historian.” Right from the beginning, the vocalist Ryan Lindsey comes in with some high-speed “duh-duh-dee-dee-dee’s” that bounce all over the place. Yet, they’re not all over the place because they’re executed with precision and jubilant accuracy.
After the chorus of nonsensical sound ends, he begins a slurred, laconic verse. The guitar tones are on the verge of dreamy ’80s, reminiscent of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” They swirl along, keeping up with a steady, little-varied drumbeat. A few fills sneak in here and there, but for the most part, the drums press onward and onward, keeping the beat in check while the vocals dart up and down, then then back up, then back down.
When the second verse starts, the guitars have dropped out, so all we have left are loose vocals, drums, and a catchy bass riff. The lyrics go, “You cut in line, you’re cutting cake/ You cut a line, was a big mistake.” Sounds like a drug reference to me, but I could be wrong. One time I found myself in a stranger’s house, and someone there asked me, “Hey, do you ski the slopes?” My response was, “Yeah, I mean, I guess. My family and I went skiing in Red River, New Mexico for my ninth birthday.” I was so lost. Didn’t realize a complete stranger would feel comfortable asking me if I did cocaine.
I’m not sure what “Class Historian” is about, but it reminds me of that lost feeling I experienced in the stranger’s house. There’s a hardness, an edge, but I’m not in the loop. I’m trying to catch up with the conversation. Words are bouncing around, and I should probably know what they mean, but I don’t. So I shrug. I nod. I decide to enjoy my naivety for what it’s worth.
If you like “Class Historian” by BRONCHO, you should also check out “NC-17” and “Taj Mahal.”