Despite all evidence to the contrary from long-lived lifetime puffers like Jeanne Calment, Louis Armstrong, Boris Karloff, and Groucho Marx, cigarettes aren't thought to be particularly good for you. But here’s an indisputable reality: nothing says “road trip” like hitting the highway with a pack of smokes on the dash—preferably Marlboro Lights, and always in a soft pack.
Dispute that all you want, but not until you’ve rewatched David Lynch’s Wild At Heart. Admit it—you’d give your left lung to ride shotgun with Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace, especially during the desert drive to Big Tuna, Texas.
Starting from the opening frame, Still Creek Crows’ video for “Place Like This” gets things right on every level.
Potato chips, candy bag, and Slurpees? Roger that.
Mixed tape—as in an actual cassette—labelled with a black felt marker? Fucking A. Christ, there’s even a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror.
From there we get a four-minute mini-movie that in many ways sums up the past year and a half: moments of light interspersed with despair and fuck-it-all-darkness.
Someone once sagely noted that the myth of any relationship is that you’ll go away together, take long walks on the beach (or drives in the car) together, and then end up more in love than when you departed. That same person also noted that’s borderline delusional, as no two people were ever meant to be together 24 hours a day for days on end.
Consider that a spoiler alert that not all is perfect in “Place Like This”, at least where the storyline is concerned.
Musically, it’s a different story altogether. Still Creek Crows sees the Matinee’s Matt Rose moonlighting with One More Girl member and session singer Britt McKillip. Given the acts they normally run with, it should surprise no one that “Place Like This” finds a joyful and jangly sweet spot between honey-bourboned Americana and badlands-shimmer folk-rock.
“Place Like This’ was written while both of us were on the road,” notes the duo. “Britt was spending time in Nashville and Los Angeles, and Matt was touring all over North America. We both had the feeling of being adrift; that the further we travelled chasing our dreams, the more lost we both became. Writing it was a reminder that no matter how far away, home is always waiting for you.”
And, if you’re lucky, so is a carton of Marlboro Light soft-packs. Your doctor might not approve, but David Lynch, Harry Dean Stanton, and Lula Pace most certainly would. Pass the lighter and crack open the potato chips.