Eclectic rockers Jars of Clay had the misfortune of achieving their greatest commercial success with their first album. Strangely, the band's audience has grown (or shrank, rather) in inverse proportion to its artistic maturity. That's a shame, because few acts combine aural originality and literary heft so well. Consider "Scenic Route" from 2009's The Long Fall Back to Earth. Perky pop-folk shaded with moody electronic flourishes provides the auditory backdrop for a long-running marital spat, one that the speaker is unwilling to end quickly. Standard enough subject matter, sure, but lead singer Dan Haseltine makes it fresh through inventive use of metaphor:
No nails to untie the knots.It's enough to make one want to brush the dust off of Thrall and Hibbard and get back to reading poetry.
No veins left to take the shots.
No touch to end a fight
Or letting who's wrong be right.
We're just sitting like novels
We've picked up but never read through.
You think you know my ending;
I think I know yours, too.