Family Lumber, as a band, isn't sluggish at all, but the matters that the band sings about are those that have gotten there. They are the moments when you snap out of it (or don't snap out of it) and realize that you aren't quite sure when it was that you last took a shower, how long its been since you trimmed your beard or just how much time we might be talking about between life highlights - those little perks that keep you going. It's sluggishness alright. It's being in the trenches and it's continuing to swing, though putting less and less heart into each and every subsequent swing. You've started giving it the half-ass treatment, throwing fists off of your back foot and not really following through - just letting those phantom punches ricochet off of vacant space and then setting oneself back down into the indentation that you've made for yourself.
Lead singer Michael Tietjen takes us into a world that can feel extremely familiar - even if it's just the part of it that does drive-bys. He writes about the walking and the standing around, the trivial and the trailing off of ambition, or effort. It's looking at the aftermath and recognizing so many familiar particles. It's finding the aftermath to be somewhat friendly, when it shouldn't be. He sings, "Stop going there/Come close to me/Cause I'm waiting there/A fish in the sea/And your bottom springs/There's nowhere to hide/Your head is in the kitchen sink/Get out the light/There's no use to me/To stay there," and it sounds like there's some wild confusion going on. It's heeding the pointed advice of no compass.
It's wandering about, through the elements, through a night and through what should have been your sleep. It's being caught up in a clogged vein. Tietjen sings on "Before I Sleep," "I looked at the ground to see/What's going on underneath me/Always looking ahead/She said/I'll wake before I sleep." It previews a brief discussion about fighting - about someone not wanting to fight, perhaps out of pity - and the note finishes with a skillet filled with washy guitars and bandaged up drums and a feeling that this was going to lead to a bender. Any good things that might be on the may, as they're suggested, wouldn't be anywhere near what would be needed or expected.