Boy meets girl (or boy or vice versa or whoever, but for the sake of poetics, let’s roll with this), boy likes girl but he’s too nervous to make a move, regret sinks it but it’s too late. Boy tries to reach out to girl but is ignored. It’s not the girl’s fault, but he cuts things off to make it easier on himself, so that he’s not reminded of how stupidly he went about the whole thing. And that’s only scratching the surface of what you can glean from the sub-two-minutes of “Pool.” It’s astounding how much Dean Engle’s lyricism can pack into a song in such a short time. From charming little details like “I was in the backseat, swimsuit dripping” or gut-punching, painful verses like “One time I showed you a song/ You only thought that it was kind of good/ I never played it again, it wasn’t even about you,” everything you could ever want in a song is there. The track is in its own head, a stream-of-consciousness flashback to all of the memories and regrets you’ve ever had about yourself or your relationships with others, all bundled up into one short anecdote about a day spent swimming in New Brunswick. The music serves as a sturdy, tenderhearted punk framework for these lyrics: lilted guitars and circuitous drumming add an air of wistfulness and sentimentality. Quarterbacks can do more with two minutes than most bands can do with two hours, and they’re charismatic and self-deprecating and unflinchingly honest while doing so. Listen below.
Songwriter and vocalist Dean Engle also took some time to answer a few questions:
STEREOGUM: Probably self-explanatory, but wanna go into the story behind “Pool”?
DEAN ENGLE: The song’s about the first day I met my best friend Devin Silvers in New Brunswick. It was on a weird short tour where Zeno Pittarelli played drums and David Grimaldi played bass in the band. Dev took us to a private swimming pool in the middle of a field. I thought we were all going to get arrested so I just took a quick dip and walked back to the car. Sat there and tried to make some calls that didn’t go so well, which the song talks about.
STEREOGUM: Did you guys always envision re-recording all of your old songs for a full-length? Or was there any point where you considered just coming up with new stuff for the LP?
ENGLE: I consider writing new songs every day but it rarely happens. This record contains 90% of the songs I’ve written since 2009. I didn’t envision anything. Nate from Team Love asked us if we wanted to make a record, sort of a well-recorded retrospective (though we’re not breaking up). We’d never made a record before so I said yes. It was an exciting idea.
STEREOGUM: What’s your biggest regret?
ENGLE: Self-teaching myself guitar. Took me ten f’ing years to write a song with a barre chord.
12/12 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar w/ Swearin’
01/10 Beacon, NY @ Quinn’s
01/13 Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn
01/20 New Brunswick, NJ @ Cooler Ranch
01/21 New Paltz, NY @ Team Love
01/29 Poughkeepsie, NY @ Vassar College