About 10 years ago, I first heard the Menzingers as an opening act for The Bouncing Souls. The Menzingers were the highlight of that show, and they have gone on to become one of my favorite melodic punk bands. This month I saw the Menzingers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, almost 10 years later. The highlight of this show was their first opening act, a New York state punk band called Timeshares. They combine the punk aggression of early Menzingers material with some alternative country leanings, ala the Drive By Truckers. Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know that I have a special affinity for rock music with a country-tinge to it. Hearing a sorrowful twang in their music was cause for much excitement, and I went home and bought some of their music straightaway.
Timeshares’ earlier material reminds me of the gruff aggression of Hot Water Music, with dueling vocalists and energetic guitar lines. The aforementioned country-tinge is more on display on a collection of EPs that they have released in the last few years. Their 2018 EP On Life Support (2018) ends with the song “Ladder”, which was probably the song I have listened to the most in February.
“Ladder” is a touching song about reconciling with a loss, which in this case, pertains to the passing of vocalist Jon Hernandez’ father. The song starts with moments of willful denial:
“And I never stopped to think, because thinking just could kill you.
And I spent the night awake. Does it sound familiar?“
It then moves to pondering how his father would reply to the questions swirling around his head:
“I’ve got something more to ask you.
When the vessel starts to go, did it feel like life passed you?
Is there weight to be given to the parallels I’m living?
I get shaken down by heights, and the ropes upon my back are giving way.”
Finally, Jon comes to the realization that, despite his sadness and longing, he has to keep pushing on:
“What else can I do, old man? I'll keep climbing.”
This is a surprisingly hopeful way to end a very wistful song. It is often easy to get caught up in your own struggles and wallow in them, not being willing to put one foot in front of the other. Even though this can be exceedingly difficult, Timeshares reminds us that we all need to keep climbing.
Buy Timeshares’ music here.