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Run For Your Life: With The Division Men’s Criminal Video

J. Simpson
  • On January 13, 2015

Have you ever felt trapped by your life? Like a prisoner of circumstances?

We live in a free land (hopefully this is true for anyone who might be reading this), where it is theoretically possible to chase the horizon, seeing what’s on the other side of every hill. The reality is that life and obligations tie us down like so many Liliputtian tethtering cables, holding us faster than titanium bars. To try and break these ties, to do what you want, no matter where that road might lead, calls into question your essential goodness.

Sometimes, to do what we want and be true to ourselves gets us labeled as bad people: criminals.

The Division Men Criminal video excerpt

This feeling is perfectly encapsulated by Austin, Tx.’s The Division Men, on the single “Criminal”, from last year’s excellent Under The Gun. Their windblown, end of the world waltz is the sound of making a break for it, as the music seems to breathe with the scent of mesquite and dust, as The Division Men expatriate from Austin to New Orleans.

The Division Men are the husband and wife duo of Caroline and J. Spencer Portillo, originating in the far off, frostier climes of Berlin in 2008. The Division Men draw a lot of comparisons to The Handsome Family, which are fair, but reductive, as The Portillos’ have a more elegant and delicate approach than The Handsome Family’s “barbed wire stretching to infinity roughness”, seeming to evoke the dancehalls of The Weimar Republic as well as batwing doors.

The Division Men are a perfect blend of rustic Western melodrama and ethereal beauty, like the theme song for True Detective with The Cocteau TwinsLiz Fraser on celestial harmonies. It’s rugged, and passionate – nearly violent, but unrepentant. And not looking back, unless it’s in a rearview mirror.

The prisons and bars are just in your mind. You’re free to go at any time.

The Division Men’s Under The Gun is out now.

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