Tim Cohen – Laugh Tracks (Captured Tracks)

The cover of Tim Cohen’s Laugh Tracks has a smiling face with a black heart beaming from its mouth. Beside the black heart is a white heart. For now, let’s just say this is Tim’s version of himself (on the day he drew the picture). Above his head, a circus of opposites stare at one another from across the page. Two bald eagles flank the head, one with a flag full of stars, one with a flag full of stripes. The eagles look pretty uptight, but above them, two hooded baseball pitchers look like they’re having the time of their lives. For good or for worse, the pitchers are oblivious to a pair of snakes who threaten to strike at them with massive (but toothless) jaws.

If you listened to the songs before seeing the album art, you wouldn’t imagine this cover. You wouldn’t necessarily think of birds or baseball. The classic melodies and four-track spirit would work their hypnosis. The symptoms of your life would disappear. Cohen’s dilemmas would be part of the medicine. Soon you’d be getting ideas. Ways to draw the fear of death without bringing people down. Ways to laugh at a recurring nightmare. You’d find your way to a hall of mirrors. You’d focus on everyday scenes, changed just enough to make people take another look. Which would lead people to take another look. And then another… Laugh Tracks are contagious.

Jon Bernson is a founding member of Exray’s and Window Twins